Hot Weather Hints for Pet Owners

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I don’t have to tell you that it’s hot outside…but IT IS ABNORMALLY HOT OUTSIDE THIS SUMMER! Why is this important to us canines? For starters your toes, pads, and paws get sizzling hot when your master/mistress takes you for a walk on those 130-degree sidewalks!

Is the situation unavoidable? Nope! One strategy is to suggest to your master/mistress to just run you out to the yard to pee and poop, then dash back inside to the refreshing A/C so you can plop down on a tile floor after taking a big drink of ice cold water. Now you’re ready for that hard-earned nap!

If you think I’m overstating the deleterious effects of 90-degree plus temperatures on the health of your canine body, think again. We (Island Pet Sitters) take the matter very seriously and are overly cautious when walking your little darlings. For starters, we scout the route and assess the availability of shade, lawn, and those nice, grassy swales. We keep your paws off those hot-coal like paved surfaces and let you do what you have to do then skedaddle back to home base. Because, believe it or not, not only can you burn your paws, but those of you with with thin coats can suffer sun burned skin. Yes, we canines can get skin cancer too so why take the risk?

I have a very true, sad, and happy story to share with you. One of our clients - a beautiful standard poodle named Abigail, collapsed on the sidewalk one Saturday morning when her mistress was walking her. It was only just past 10 a.m. on a hot spring morning when the dog just went down. Her mistress could not get the dog back onto her feet again so she called her vet’s office and they immediately arrived at the scene with a van and took her back to the office.

Abigail’s condition was life-threatening, exacerbated by a chronic health condition requiring bi-weekly chemo. The vet’s office was getting ready to close but the poor poodle was in critical condition. She was transferred to the Animal Specialty Hospital on Davis Blvd. and immediately put on IV fluids as a team of medical personnel worked to get her body temperature back down.

The vets weren’t sure Abigail would make it, but after a seven day hospital stay and lots of loving, round-the-clock care the now happy pup was released and able to return to her northern quarters with her family to begin a long recovery. As an aside I’d like to say that my supervisor here at Island Pet Sitters - Karina Paape, Abigail’s long-time pet sitter, didn’t breath easy until she heard that Abigail had started carrying her favorite stuffies (stuffed animal toys) around the house again. I’m happy to report that today Abigail is enjoying the views and breezes of her summer home in Chicago. And yes, she continues to stroll around with one of her stuffies in her mouth. Who doesn’t love a happy ending!!

Tips: Here are a couple of tips from the brochure “Hot Weather Hints for Pet Owners” created by Pet Sitters International:

  • Wait 30-60 minutes after meals (the dog’s, not yours) before taking your dog for a walk
  • Walk your dog in grass or keep pavement walks brief
  • Do not take your dog to the beach or boating unless you can offer shady shelter and plenty of cold water

Symptoms:

  • excessive panting
  • reddened gums
  • confusion and lack of muscular coordination

First Aid:

  • get the pet to a shady place
  • cool with wet towels
  • call a veterinarian
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