Keep pets safe in the heat
How to keep animals cool when temperatures soar.
The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people. It's difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages, sometimes with tragic results.
We can help you keep your pets safe and cool this summer. Follow our tips for helping everyone in your family stay healthy while hot.
Practice basic summer safety
NEVER LEAVE YOUR PETS IN A PARKED CAR
Not even for a minute! Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. Learn how to help a pet left inside a hot car by taking action or calling for help. Local law enforcement can follow this handy guide [PDF] on how to proceed.
Watch the humidity
"It's important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature, but also the humidity that can affect your pet," says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. "Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly."
Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs' temperatures should not reach over 104 degrees. If your dog's temperature does, follow the instructions below for treating heat stroke.
Pet Cooling Items on Amazon.com
Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
Don't rely on a fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure they have protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.
Cool your pet inside and out
Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY pupsicles for dogs. And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.
Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat. Soak these products in cool water, and they'll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn't find baths stressful, see if they enjoy a cooling soak.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.
Prepare for power outages
Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.
Information Resource: The Humane Society of the United States
It can take just 10 minutes for it to get almost 20° F hotter inside a car. Automobile glass traps heat from sunlight, so parking in the shade or leaving the windows open doesn’t help either. Leaving your dog inside the car can cause heatstroke.
If you think your dog has heatstroke:
Tips provided by Pet Supplies Plus
Keep your co-pilot happy & safe during your trip.
1. Bring along a sturdy leash and collar with ID tags. Make sure you have their license and proof of rabies vaccination handy.
2. While you're driving, keep your dog in a crate or use a harness that attaches to the seat belt to make sure they're safe. Keep cats safe and secure in a carrier while in the car.
3. Never leave your pet alone in a closed car, especially during the summertime when cars reach dangerously hot temps fast. If you need to step out of the car with your pet, make sure a family member or friend can keep them company.
4. Make sure your pet has fresh water to drink.
5. Pit Stop! Plan ahead for extra stops for potty breaks and exercise time. Always be sure to bring along waste bags to clean up after your dog.
Tips provided by Pet Supplies Plus
Easy Does It: Pet Anxiety
A kitchen overflowing with guests, loud claps of thunder, a change in routine due to a new job…all reasons for that creeping feeling of anxiety to take over. As for your sweet (and occasionally sassy) tuxedo cat, these situations may leave her feeling anxious too. Reaching for her favorite toy, you’re glad that you’ve learned some helpful tips to recognize and treat your furry friend’s anxiety.
Examples of anxiety triggers:
-Moving to a new home. Moving from one house or apartment to another involves a lot of logistics, and your cat can pick up on the changes.
-Loud noises. Cats have a significantly higher range of hearing than humans. A high-speed car chase in a movie could have her on edge and not seeming herself even in her own home. Her reaction to thunder and fireworks? She’ll head straight to the basement with her tail down.
-New baby or pet. The joy of introducing a new member of the family to your current pet can bring anxiety too. New smells, new sights, new things…new everything!
Tips to calm anxiety:
-Moving to a new home. Keep your kitty confined to a bathroom or smaller bedroom until she seems comfortable enough to explore her new abode. Make sure her creature comforts are nearby: food, water, litter box, toys and blankets. Visit her frequently, and allow play time in the new house in increments. Soon she’ll claim her napping spot and will let everyone in the house know!
-Loud noises. Try your best to reduce or remove the noise. Turn off the TV, or comfort your pet in a quieter room. A calmer atmosphere will benefit you both.
-New baby or pet. A curious baby will probably want to kiss and hug the family cat or dog, but let your pet approach the little guy on their time, and always supervise. A new furry buddy will require monitoring and gradual interaction too. Reassure your cat that she’ll continue to have your attention by spending quality time with her doing what she loves: being groomed, getting special treats, and playing with her favorite catnip toy.
Thinking of medication? Make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss options. Tell the vet about your concerns and provide examples of how your cat has reacted to stressors. One option is fluoxetine, a medication equivalent to Prozac for humans. Fluoxetine can help ease separation anxiety and overall anxiety.
When you find out what works in easing anxiety in your cat, both of you will feel a little better.
By Carrie Cammauf
March 20-26, 2016, is National Poison Prevention Week. And here at Furever Home, we want to help you keep your cats, dogs, rabbits and all other pets safe.
First and foremost, always have your vet’s phone number handy. There is also a national hotline you can call: 855.764.7661. You can learn more on their website www.petpoisonhelpline.com. This site also includes a very detailed list of items that may be harmful to your pets, such as some common household items:
If your pet accidentally ingested something harmful, it could take twenty minutes up to a few days for them to begin showing a sign. And, as the weather gets warmer and people begin spring cleaning and opening windows and spending time outside, the danger increases.
How to Keep Your Pets Safe
What to Do if Your Pet is Accidentally Poisoned
What Not to Do
Questions? Let us know in the comments section.
Kitten season is my favorite time of year. Furever Home typically helps 75 new kittens find their loving furever homes and, while most of the kittens are being cared for by our generous foster families (and a big thank you to them – we couldn’t do it without your support!), many kittens aren’t as lucky. Lancaster County’s feral cat population was up 60% last year, with estimates showing that there could be 84,000 feral cats in the county.
It is a big issue. Here are some guidelines on how you can help.
The difference between stray and feral cats
While stray and feral cats share some commonalities there is a big difference. Stray cats are socialized to humans – in most cases they were once pets who have either become lost or were, unfortunately, abandoned, while feral cats have had very limited (or no) interactions with humans and have reverted to a wild state. Stray cats may become feral as their contact with humans dwindles or, in a happier scenario, become loving pets again if they are taken in.
Feral cats typically fear humans. In most cases, unless they are very young at the time of adoption, they do not enjoy living indoors if someone were to take them in. They do, however, bond with their colony. Although you might wish to rehabilitate a feral cat, if they are not socialized by about 5 month of age, it is almost impossible to turn them around. They are best left to live their lives outside.
How to tell the difference – a few signs
One of the most important things for you to remember is that feral is a designation of behavior, not location.
Should I approach a cat if I see one outside?
If you are thinking about approaching an unknown cat you find outside, be cautious. Cat bites and scratches can be harmful. Follow the lead of the cat and if it is friendly to you, take your time and get to know it to build up trust. Stray cats may tolerate touching while feral cats will not – not even by a caretaker who feeds it. As you get to know a stray it will relax over time while a feral cat will remain tense. If they feel threatened, a stray will hiss while a feral cat could lash out aggressively.
As stated above, feral cats tend to live in colonies and, together, they will defend their territory. They typically live where they can find food and shelter – such as an abandoned building near a restaurant dumpster or under the porch of someone who feeds them even though there is no other interaction.
So how can I help?
With a stray, begin by leaving food out for it at the same time each day. As it comes around more, slowly get to know it until the trust is there and you can pet it. If you’re thinking about taking it into your home, be sure to take it to a vet first for shots, neutering, flea treatment and a health checkup – especially if you have other pets. A trip to the groomer will probably also be in order.
Whether or not you take the cat in, the first thing you should do is to have the animal scanned for a microchip. Many animals are given away or sent to shelters while their owners are frantically looking for them. Call the local vets and give a description of the animal, take a picture and make a flyer and post it in local vet offices, supermarkets and public places. Ask around the neighborhood. Facebook is an excellent way to advertise a found animal. Craigslist has a very active lost and found pet section in Lancaster. FIND TOBY in PA, lancaster county pa lost found & rehoming cats and Lost Pets of PA are excellent Facebook resources dedicated to posting lost and found animals.
If you are unsuccessful finding an owner, you may want to attempt to contact a no-kill shelter to see if they are taking in animals. Be aware that most rescues are very overwhelmed over kitten season and cannot accept the high number of requests that they get to take in animals. Furever Home gets about 30 calls and email per week from people asking them to take in cats.
Feral cats, on the other hand, should not be approached. If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, the responsible thing to do is to contact a local feral clinic such as Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and ask to rent a "have-a-heart" trap, which humanely traps the cats. This is a complicated process because you must trap the animal the night before the surgery and take away its food. Call first and Pet Pantry will give you instructions on what is involved in trapping and having an animal spayed/neutered.
It’s important to note that you must call the clinic for an appointment before trapping the cat as you can’t leave the cat in the trap longer than 12-18 hours.
After surgery, it is a wonderful help if you provide shelters for the feral cats. For great suggestions, see the website of Alley Cat Allies for ideas on how to build outdoor shelters. Furever Home is also happy to assist you to build an outdoor shelter. The final step is providing regular food and water for your outdoor friends.
Furever Home has five colonies of feral cats that we feed, helping over 100 cats. And we greatly appreciate any dry cat food donations to help us with this cause. To see our full wish list, click here.
To donate and help us with this county-wide issue, please visit http://www.fureverhomeadoptioncenter.com/donate.html.
Questions? Let us know in the comments section.
Kitten season is almost upon us and Furever Home currently has several openings for families who are willing and able to open their homes to these adorable little furballs until they are old enough to find their furever homes. Fostering is a crucial part of the animal rescue world – we couldn’t do what we do without our foster families.
What it means to foster a kitten.
Fostering isn’t right for everyone but it is an extremely rewarding experience. Foster parents nurture the kittens and teach them what it is like to be loved and cared for. By providing a safe environment for them to explore you help them learn to trust people. Foster kittens are generally friendlier and are, therefore, adopted more quickly.
You will have a lot of fun living with a kitten and we will provide support throughout the duration. First and foremost, all expenses will be paid for by Furever Home. Our volunteer vets provide the care the kittens need, including vaccines, medicines and additional medical care if needed. We will work with you to arrange the right schedule that works for both you, the vet and, of course, the kittens. We also provide food and other supplies. You have all of the love and fun of having a kitten without the expense.
We will also provide training before you take the kitten home and are available to answer questions along the way. Our goal is aligned with yours – to provide the best possible experience so the kittens grow into healthy, loving and adoptable cats.
There are a number of general questions we are frequently asked about fostering and we wanted to answer some of them here. We are happy to answer all other questions you have. You can either respond to this post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I foster more than one kitten at a time?
Yes! We try to keep siblings together whenever possible so we are typically looking for homes that can accommodate more than one kitten.
How old are the kittens when they are available for fostering?
Kittens are anywhere from 4-5 weeks on up to 8-10 weeks old. On occasion, we will have nursing (or pregnant) moms with newborns kittens.
Can I just stop in to play with the kittens and take one home to foster if I like it?
No. Being a foster family is serious business. We have an application online that you need to fill out. We also meet with all families to review the guidelines. Also, due to the set-up of our facility, we do not allow visitors to come in just to play with the kittens or cats.
Can I foster a kitten even if I have other pets?
It depends. In most cases it is okay but the kittens have to be kept in a separate, secure location that is kitten-proof. Any time animals are together, whether they simply pass each other in the vet’s waiting room or if they live together, there are risks of fighting, injury or shared illness. Keeping the foster kittens in an area by themselves mitigate this risk.
Can I name my foster kitten?
You may call your fosters whatever you wish while they are in your home but we have a sponsorship program available that gives sponsors the ability to name kittens as they come into our adoption center. You can learn more about the program here.
What if my kitten needs medical attention?
We have vets who will attend to all of the care the kittens need, from simple vaccines to emergency illnesses. We will train you in the proper care of the kittens, and a foster coordinator is available as needed.
Is fostering tax deductible?
Yes. We will provide food and supplies but if you make additional purchases they are considered gifts to the shelter and are, therefore, tax deductible.
Are the kittens house broken?
Maybe. Cats and kittens, by nature, will use a litter box. However, a huge part of fostering a kitten is training and socialization. That’s why we need dedicated families who are willing to not only play and cuddle with the kittens but who are also willing to spend the time they need to learn good behaviors.
What if I fall in love with the kitten? Do I have to give him up?
Not necessarily. Many foster families go on to adopt their kittens while others go on to foster other cats in need. It depends on your circumstance. If you do decide to adopt, you will need to follow the adoption application process.
I’m ready to learn more. Now what?
Download our application below, and set up a time to come in to talk to us about this opportunity. You’ll not only be saving the life of a kitten, but you’ll be ensuring that our center has space available for another cat in need. And you could be meeting your new best friend who will bring a lot of laughter and adventure to your life.
Questions? Let us know in the comments section.