Tips to Make July a Fun Time for Pets

 

205382_4461940550881_1160270335_nThe beginning of July can be a very tough time for pets. Many people get an early start on Independence Day celebrations with their own fireworks and even gunfire! In my neighborhood the backyard fireworks began as soon as the local fireworks stands went up.DSCN1632BucaneerStatePark

These loud noises can send cats and dogs into a state of panic that often lead them to crash through screens, jump a fence or find another method of escape. There are ways to make July 4th safer and less stressful for pets. It starts with keeping your pet inside as much as possible before and after the holiday. In some extreme cases, check with your veterinarian about tranquilizers to help your pet.

It is smart to take pets out on a leash in the in the early evening, well before nightfall, to avoid noisy fireworks. Please do not take a dog to watch a large community or commercial firework display. This only increases the chances of a pet becoming lost in an unfamiliar area. Keep furry family members safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.236504

The Fourth of July and grilling go hand and hand. It may seem like a great idea to reward pets with scraps from the grill. In reality, some festive 4th foods and products can be hazardous to your pets. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them! Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets.

Champ chow Alvin

Chow ready to chow down!

July 4th trips or any summer outing with your dog may tempt you to help them by sharing your outdoor products. This can be dangerous! Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems. Have a fun and safe summer with your furry friends.

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Summer and Spring Pet Safety Tips

ImageGreat warm weather may have you heading for the great outdoors. After a long, cold winter, spring and summer activities outside can prove not-so-sunny for pets and their owners. Warm weather celebrations, spring cleaning and home improvement projects may present potential pet hazards.

Warmer weather may mean more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your contact information. Pet microchips are available at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, your veterinarian’s office or shelters.  A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.

This is the season to hit the highway for vacations and weekend getaways. The lure of the road is a powerful force as dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces. It can be very dangerous to allow dogs ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows! Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse. Pets in vehicles should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Many pet families welcome spring breezes by opening windows. Unfortunately, this may put furry friends at risk, as pets may be tempted to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.

Spring showers bring flowers and an onslaught of insect pests! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program. Spring cleaning can also hold hidden hazards for pets. Be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.

This is also the time of the year for household projects and fix-ups. Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Spring is the time to let your garden grow but check before you plant. Many popular seasonal plants including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas are highly toxic to pets. A garden threat may come in a variety of volunteer of poisonous plants and native flowers that are dangerous to curious pets. For example, mushrooms are among the most commonly pet ingested organic material in the yard during the summer. Remove mushrooms you find growing in the yard. Mushrooms are a fungus and they can grow quickly, even overnight, so check your yard frequently.

Wildlife is active in the spring and coyotes are among our Saint Louis urban wildlife population. Coyotes are increasing in the Saint Louis area. During the spring coyotes are on the prowl for food for their pups and are aggressive with family pets. It is smart to go out with your pet late at night and if you see a coyote, make a lot of noise to scare it off. You can make your property safer for pets with fencing, getting rid of debris piles, high grass and weedy areas. This will also reduce your risk for encountering a venomous snake.
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Tips to Keep Your Pet’s Outdoor Adventures Safe

Are you ready to start the warm weather season on the right paw for your pet? After a long, cold Saint Louis winter, heading outdoors can prove not-so-sunny for pets and their owners. Warm weather celebrations, spring cleaning and home improvement projects may present potential pet hazards.

Warmer weather may mean more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your contact information.

Pet microchips are available at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, local veterinarian offices, and most animal shelters. A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.

This is the season to hit the highway for vacations and weekend getaways. The lure of the road is a powerful force as dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces. It can be very dangerous to allow dogs ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows! Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse. Pets in vehicles should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Many pet families welcome spring breezes by opening windows. Unfortunately, this may put furry friends at risk, as pets may be tempted to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.

Spring showers bring flowers and an onslaught of insect pests! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program. The clinic at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri can recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.

Spring cleaning can also hold hidden hazards for pets. Be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.

This is also the time of the year for household projects and fix-ups. Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Spring is the time to let your garden grow but check before you plant. Many popular seasonal plants including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas are highly toxic to pets. A garden threat may come in a variety of volunteer of poisonous plants and native flowers that are dangerous to curious pets. For example, mushrooms are among the most commonly pet ingested organic material in the yard during the summer. Remove mushrooms you find growing in the yard. Mushrooms are a fungus and they can grow quickly, even overnight, so check your yard frequently.

Wildlife is active in the spring and coyotes are among our Saint Louis urban wildlife population. Coyotes are increasing in the Saint Louis area. During the spring coyotes are on the prowl for food for their pups and are aggressive with family pets. It is smart to go out with your pet late at night and if you see a coyote, make a lot of noise to scare it off. You can make your property safer for pets with fencing, getting rid of debris piles, high grass and weedy areas. This will also reduce your risk for encountering a venomous snake.
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Be Eye Smart and Protect Your Sight at Work and Play

Labor Day has come and gone, but summer sun and temperatures continue across most of the nation. Fall does not officially arrive until September 22, 2013 for countries in the Northern Hemisphere. There is still a lot of outdoor fun and living ahead as Daylight savings time continues until November 3, 2013.

Just because September is here, don’t forget as our skin needs sun protection, the eye’s surface is vulnerable for potentially blinding sun-related diseases. The long days of sun filled recreation can also lead to an increased risk of eye damage.Image

Dr. Mary Kay Migneco, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences instructor at Washington University School of Medicine, advises sunlight is a risk factor for several eye diseases including cancer: “Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can increase the risk for development of cataracts and macular degeneration.  While non-vision threatening, lesions on the lids such as basal cell carcinomas are also at increased risk.”

It is important to start wearing proper sun protection at an early age to protect eyes from years of damaging rays. To be eye smart in the sun, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends you wear 99 percent and higher UV (ultraviolet radiation) absorbent sunglasses to protect your eyes:

    Choose wraparound sun-glass styles so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.

    If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need sunglasses.

    Add a hat to maximize protection; broad-brimmed hats are best.

    Limit exposure to UV-intense conditions: sunlight is strongest mid-day, at higher altitudes, and reflected  off water, ice or snow.

    On cloudy days the sun’s rays can pass through.

Anyone of any age and skin pigmentation is susceptible to ultraviolet damage and some people may be at a greater risk.  Many factors influence sun sensitivity including medications. There are drugs that can make your eyes more vulnerable to light explains Dr. Migneco, “Photo-sensitizing drugs can lead to photophobia.”

If you are taking any of the following common drugs, Dr. Migneco says it is vital to wear sunglasses and a hat whenever you go outside:

     Psoralens (used in treating psoriasis)

    Tetracycline

    Doxycycline

    Allopurinol

    Phenothiazine

Fall is often a time to tackle outdoor chores. Lawn mowers propel objects at high rates of speed. Regardless of the debris thrown by a mower, it will penetrate the cornea, cause intense pain and inflammatory response.  These eye injuries are easily preventable with safety eyeglasses that are worn during yard work. Wear safety glasses while doing home improvement projects that involve grinding metal, sandblasting, power washing or leaf blowing.

Chores inside your home may present an eye injury risk too. Using hazardous products such as oven cleaner and bleach can impact your eyes. Common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year.

The aroma of barbeques and fish fries are a part of outdoor fun.  Take care around the grill or fire pit, often the sparks or ashes that fly through the air can get into your eyes. Cooking foods that can splatter hot grease or oil can also put your eyes at risk.

Cookouts and picnics may take you into contact with poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak.  If you come in contact with any of these plants keep your hands away from the eyes. Exposure directly to your eye will require medical attention.   

Popular sports can also pose a risk to your eyes. A national survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology finds more than forty percent of eye injuries every year are related to sports.  Most people do not wear protective eye wear when playing sports like tennis or baseball.  According to the U.S Eye Injury Registry, 5% of all eye injuries result from baseballs. Doctors say the smaller the ball, the greater the risk of an eye injury. Golf balls, tennis balls, and paint balls are the causes of common sports related eye injury.

Hitting the road on a trip? Put goggles in the trunk for car trouble. Spewing radiators can project steam at the eyes.  Snapping bungee cords can hit the eye at 50 mph.

Everyone is at risk for eye damage and injuries but a few simple steps can help protect your sight for many seasons to come.Image