By Karen Thomas for Paradise Pets Magazine
We all enjoy the fun of summer activities - swimming, going to the beach, vacations and
holiday celebrations. But our very sensitive four-legged companions may feel a little
different. When the temperature rises we need to be extra vigilant of the well-being of
our babies in fur coats. Living in the Florida Keys the temperature and humidity soar
during the summer creating a very oppressive heat which can affect all of us.
Here are just a few safety tips for keeping our loved ones safe:
Every year hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion from being left in parked cars. It
is never a good idea to leave your pet in a parked car with the windows cracked, ever.
Your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness
and even death, even on a day that doesn't seem hot to you. And cracking the windows
makes no difference. The data below was shared by the American Veterinary Medical
Association on how quickly temperatures rise.
“The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20
minutes, it can rise almost 30º F...and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60
minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the
outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that's 110 degrees inside your vehicle!”
Safe Travel for Pets
Let’s also not forget the severe dangers of driving with your dog in the bed of a pickup
truck. Not only are they exposed to airborne hazards and risk being burned on the hot
metal of the bed itself, but dogs could also fall or jump off the truck and be injured or
killed on impact. Using a tether in the truck bed is not a good idea either as the tether
could tangle, injure, or even choke your dog. If you must transport your dog in the bed
of a pickup truck, use a secured, appropriately sized and ventilated dog kennel.
The safest plan is to leave your pets at home when you can. They will be safe, grateful
and happily waiting for your return.
Exercise and Hydration
It’s very important to modify your pet’s excise during the summer months. Exercising for shorter periods in the cooler hours of the morning or evening are best once the
pavements and streets have cooled. Paw pads can burn easily on hot pavements,
decks, sand or asphalt. If you’re unsure of the temperature test it by taking your shoes
off and standing on the surface for a few minutes. Often our pets are so eager to
please us that they won’t complain when their paws are burning.
If your dog will be spending time outdoors, make sure they have access to plenty of
shade and fresh water. Wading pools (out of direct sunlight) and sprinkler hoses can
help with cooling and can be lots of fun for them too.
Remember too that older, short-muzzled, overweight dogs, dogs with chronic health
issues and puppies are more likely to overheat in hot weather. Animals with flat faces,
like Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since
they cannot pant as effectively. These pets should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms
as much as possible.
The same rules apply to beach outings -lots of shade and lots of water. I always take
plenty of extra water and a bucket in case it gets spilled or if there are other dogs in
need of it. Be mindful of the hot sand. If you can’t walk on it barefoot you can be
sure it’s uncomfortable for your pup.
Warning Signs of Overheating in Pets
If your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms you should take immediate
action and move him to a cool area, preferably with air conditioning. At a minimum
move him to a shady spot. Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness
veterinarian who writes for HealthyPets.Mercola.com. recommends taking his
temperature if possible.
“If it is 104 degrees or lower begin cooling your dog down by soaking his body with cool
water – cool, but not cold. Use a hose, wet towels or any other source of cool water that
is available. Concentrate the cooling water on his head, neck and in the areas
underneath the front and back legs. Carefully cool the tongue if possible, but don't let
water run into the throat as it could get into the lungs. Never put water in the mouth of a dog that can't swallow on his own. Put a fan on him if possible – it will speed up the
cooling process. After a few minutes, re-check his temperature. If it's at or below 104ºF,
stop the cooling process. Further cooling could lead to blood clotting or a too-low body
temperature. Get the dog to a veterinary clinic right away, even if he seems to be
Fireworks and Storms
Many people enjoy the booming sounds and flashing lights of fireworks, but they can be
terrifying and overwhelming for pets, and possibly hazardous. On the Fourth of July so many pets are frightened and try to escape the sights and sounds that animal shelters
around the nation report a dramatic increase in lost pets during the holiday.
Be mindful of the fact that our pets are very sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and
strong smells. So on the Fourth of July (and the days around it when people are likely
to set off fireworks), it's best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with relaxing
music playing or TV turned on to hide jarring noises. I am a big fan of the
“Thundershirt” not only during thunderstorms but anytime there is loud noise or
vibration. The soft pressure on the animal’s torso exerted from the shirt has a calming
effect. I usually spray my calming blend “Serenity” on the shirt as well. I love to diffuse
calming essential oils (like lavender) regularly in our ‘healing room’ where there are
crates set up to help create a peaceful safe space in the house. So during times of loud
noises or vibrations there is a ‘safe place’ in the house for our dogs to retreat to.
The summer months can be fun and full of wonderful activities. Just always remember
to pay extra attention to the special needs of our loving animal companions. They
deserve to have an awesome and stress free summer too!
Sources: American Veterinarian Medical Association: 1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, integrative wellness veterinarian. HealthyPets.Mercola.com.
About the author: Karen Thomas, R.N., is a Healing Touch for Animals (HTA) Practitioner in the Florida Keys. Karen can be contacted through her website www.pawsitivetouch.org or email her directly at karen [at] pawsitivetouch.org
It’s always a good time to pay attention to your family’s health and happiness, and that includes your feline friends, too. Regular exercise and wholesome nutritional choices can help ensure your cat is happy and healthy all year long.
These five tips can help keep your cat purring for years to come. For more information on keeping your cat happy and healthy, visit IAMS.com.
1. Create a Space for Your Cat – As most cat owners know, cats have energy they need to exert throughout the day. Create a space specifically for your cat that includes a cat tree and toys, which allows them to climb around, expel extra energy or use this space to do what cats do best, take a catnap.
2. Provide Healthy and Tasty Meals – Nutrition is a major player in the overall health and happiness of cats. They are natural carnivores and need the proper amount of protein in their diets. Providing your cat a diet with high-quality, animal-sourced protein, such as IAMS™ High Protein cat food, can help them maintain healthy vitality and fuel their carnivorous spirit.
3. Find the Perfect Toys – Cats are curious creatures and love being on the prowl. Make sure you have a variety of toys on-hand for your cat to play with, including laser pointers, stuffed mice and feather wands. These items will not only keep them busy, but they offer a great form of exercise to keep them active.
4. Give Them Some Love – Spending quality time with your furry friend can be as easy as allowing them to curl up with you on the couch at the end of a long day. Show some love by treating them to a nightly brushing, which can help maintain coat health and shininess.
5. Visit the Vet – One of the easiest, and often overlooked, tips for maintaining your feline friend’s health is taking them to the veterinarian at least once a year rather than simply waiting for signs of illness. Scheduling yearly checkups can help identify any problems that may go unnoticed.
Photos courtesy of Fotolia
Sources: Family Features | IAMS
The spring season not only signifies the start of rain showers, colorful flowers and more outdoor activities, it also brings a rise in spring cleaning. Shake off the cold weather blues and revisit the simple parts of everyday life that could use a cleanup.
From storing your winter essentials to cleaning up your whole family’s diet (including your furry friends), these tips can help infuse the spring-cleaning spirit into your busy lifestyle.
Tidy Up Your Space
Spring cleaning starts by identifying what area to tackle first. Set yourself up for success by picking a small space, such as your pup’s abode. Clean his or her bowl, replenish old toys and freshen up the bed. Using a removable cover on the bed can help to keep the space tidy all-year long.
Store Away Winter Essentials
As the days get warmer and you start to break out your spring jackets, bulky coats and clothes may go unused. Declutter your closet by storing your winter essentials in bins and setting aside items to donate. This can help to make room for those bright spring clothes you’ve been waiting to wear.
Pay Attention to Hard to Reach Places
You may not realize how much dust collects on the top of your ceiling fan when it’s not running. Avoid circulating dust bunnies by giving ceiling fan blades a good brushing with a cloth or vacuum. In addition to keeping your home nice and neat, this can also help ease springtime allergies.
Dust Off Those Sneakers and Get Outside
With spring in full swing, freshen up your sneakers by throwing them into the washing machine (by themselves) and hanging them outside to dry. Once you’re ready to get moving, be sure to include your four-legged friend. Playing outside together can increase both of your activity levels and help you enjoy the warmer temperatures.
Refresh Your Diet and Your Pup’s
Spring means that fresh fruits and vegetables are starting to come back into season. Spruce up your diet by reintroducing these items, as well as quality proteins like chicken or salmon. In addition, ingredients with sources of fiber, like sweet potatoes, can help fill you up without adding too many empty calories. These foods are not only good for your health, they’re also beneficial for your dog. In fact, these ingredients are often found in many high-quality pet foods such as the NUTRO™ WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ line of dry dog food. As part of the NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, these dog food recipes are made with real, recognizable ingredients, allowing you to share your healthy eating lifestyle with your pup.
Sources: Family Features | Nutro
Supporting an animal’s natural ability to self-heal
By Karen Thomas, RN, Healing Touch for Animals Practitioner
Many of you have or know of an animal who is suffering from injury or illness, or is struggling with behavior challenges. Often animal lovers easily recognize these challenges but do not know how to help their beloved friends. Our animals’ inability to verbalize what they need can leave their human companions feeling stressed and helpless. As a Healing Touch for Animals Practitioner I am dedicated to helping these animals by using a language they both understand - energy therapy.
Healing Touch for Animals (HTA) is a holistic approach influencing the health and well-being of animals through energy and intention. Heart-centered energy therapy restores harmony and balance to the animal’s energy system while providing physical, emotional, mental and instinctual stability. Stabilizing the energy system allows the natural flow of the immune system which supports the animal’s natural self-healing process and promotes well-being.
HTA can be used on all species of all ages, small and large, and benefits our animals in many ways:
What happens during a Healing Touch for Animals Session?
Upon meeting the animal in person or through distant communication, I assess the animal’s energy system and connect with his or her spirit. I will then utilizes appropriate HTA techniques using touch and intention to clear, balance and strengthen their energy system. This treatment may include aromatherapy with therapeutic-grade essential oils, sound and/or vibrational therapy with the use of tuning forks. Usually the first response noted is relaxation which is the foundation for optimal health. I will often receive messages from the animal in the form of pictures, words and feelings through animal communication which assists with the healing process as well. A single session can take up to an hour depending on the animal and situation.
Healing Touch for Animals works in cooperation with traditional veterinarian medicine to provide the best care for our animal companions. HTA practitioners will work in conjunction with any veterinary diagnosed and prescribed treatment plan. As a cooperative practice this modality serves to bridge holistic animal health care with traditional veterinary science.
In home and distant therapy sessions
I offer Healing Touch energy work in the comfort of the animal’s home or the environment where they’re most at ease. My range of travel, at this time, is open to all of the Florida Keys.
If you are outside of the travel range or the home environment is not suitable this work can still be done distantly since energy is not limited by time or space. During distant work it is helpful to create a quiet and relaxed atmosphere for the animal during the scheduled sessions. The session will take place during an agreed upon time and be followed up by a telephone or email consultation for feedback and questions.
For more information on Healing Touch for Animals or to book a session please visit my website at www.pawsitivetouch.org
Reference: Komitor, C. CMT, HTCP/I, CHBMT, HTACP, ESMT (2013). Healing touch for animals level 3 workbook (6th ed.). Highlands Ranch, CO: Komitor Healing Method, Inc.
Paradise Pets Magazine