July 2018 Footnote from Furry Grands

GoodGrandma℠ visited with her brother Mike about keeping your pets cool in the summer and safe on the 4th of July. Mike was able to give some GOOD IDEAS, as well as educate us on a few interesting facts. Mike is an animal lover, especially dogs! Mike volunteers his time to help transport dogs from one destination to another. Our own family had a lot of family dogs over the years: Doxey, Doxalin, Duchess, Freddy, Watson, and Socks. Mike had Ruby and Pearl for a number of years, rescued Brad, and recently added Finn to add to the fun. And along with the dogs, they had kitties Ginger and Bebeju and now have Luz and Salem. In addition to the dogs and cats, Mike and his family have had five or six guinea pigs. Their daughter Brianna remembers the number a little differently. She believes they have had at least 13 guinea pigs over the years. When they first brought home guinea pigs, they purposefully brought home all girls. BUT, one night Brianna hollered for her parents because there was a “mouse” in her room. Before whacking the “mouse” they noticed it didn’t have a tail. It turns out that one of the girl guinea pigs was pregnant. The new guinea pig was welcomed into the family and given the name Toast, because of her coloring and because she was almost “toast” before they realized it was not a mouse after all.

Summer heat can be dangerous for our Furry Friends. Here are a few suggestions to consider during the summer months:

If the temperature is over 90 degrees it is too hot for animals to be outside for long periods of time.  If it is above 70 degrees, be aware of the concerns below:

  • Be sure they have plenty of water at all times.
  • Do not consider a doghouse shade. The shade needs to be natural shade like tree shade, a tarp, or some other form of natural shade.
  • Ice can be used in the pets water, as well as left on the grass
  • Most pets do not care for large crowds, but if you decide to take your pet out about, be aware that they can burn their pads on the hot pavement. Dog booties can protect your pet’s paws. Mike uses this when hiking with Brad. Brad only has three paws and the hiking trail can tough on his paws.
  • If your pet gets overheated, don’t force anything on them. Allow them the time a space to cool off. You can offer water with ice and/or a wet towel to lay on.

An interesting fact about dogs: Dogs with longer snouts can stay cooler longer than those with short snouts. Dogs cool themselves by panting. Mike explained that the longer the snout, the longer the tongue. Their tongue is key to keeping cool. Also, Mike told me that furry dogs are intended to be furry. If you choose to shave your dog to keep them cool you should be aware that your dog can get a sunburn and by cutting their hair increases the chances of a bad burn.

With the 4th of July just around the corner and celebrations with fireworks planned, what can you do to keep your Furry Friends protected? Mike had a “thunder shirt” for Ruby and she wore it often. A thunder shirt can help your pet feel more secure when they may be anxious about the noise of the fireworks, and of course thunder. Have your pets stay where they feel safe. If your pet is crated, they may feel safest there. I put Marco and Polo in a basement room with the door closed. Mike tells us that it’s important to have them in a secure location to keep them from running away.

Thank you, Mike, for all of your insight and help!

Mike Parsons KBEE-FM

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