Visit Your Veterinarian
A lifelong relationship with your new pet begins with a visit to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will help you maintain your pet’s health, recommend vaccinations in line with local laws and the best interest of your pet’s health, and be available to treat a variety of medical conditions. Remember that all cats and dogs four months or older must have a current rabies vaccination, which only a veterinarian can provide! Click here for a list of vet clinics in Grand Prairie.
Hot Weather Tips
We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat. Heatstroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Simple steps to help prevent your pet from overheating:
Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.
Know the Warning Signs
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—which could lead to fatal heatstroke. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
When the temperature is very high don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Cold Weather Tips
The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips:
Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape.
Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
To help prevent animal cruelty Animal Services relies almost entirely on citizen reports. A person who believes they’ve witnessed cruelty toward an animal should report it by calling 972-237-8575. Please report what you’ve seen, where and when it happened, and who was involved. Reasons for prompting a cruelty investigation include allegations of abandonment, neglect, lack of food, water, or shelter, deplorable living conditions, untreated injuries and illness, dog fighting, and physical abuse.