The Official Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog

Teaching us about our animal friends


Heat Stroke in Pets: Signs and Prevention Tips

heat-safety-weekSummertime is here and so are the scorching hot temperatures that make us all reach for that extra glass of water. Did you know that, like humans, your pets can suffer from heatstroke? In fact, being outside all day or in a warm environment can affect an animal’s health just as much as it can affect ours.

Here are some signs and symptoms of heatstroke in cats and dogs, as well as ways to prevent it happening to your pet.

If your pets have any of the following signs or symptoms, take them to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately!

Signs of Heat Stroke in Cats and Dogs

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Bright or dark red gums
  • Vomiting
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Weakness/difficultly moving
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

How to Keep Your Pets Cool this Summer

  • Keep your pets inside the house while you’re away. Your pets love the air conditioning as much as you do.
  • Always find a shaded area for your pet — keeping them out of the sun will help cool their body.
  • Avoid heavy exercise with your pets during the hottest hours of the day. Exercise with your pets outside during the early morning or late evening hours to keep them from overheating.
  • Have fresh water available for your pet at all times.
  • Be sure to use cool water, since ice water may constrict blood vessels and impedes the cooling process.
  • Place cool, wet cloths around your pet’s paws. This helps with the heat that is being released through the pads of their paws.

If you think your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, call your veterinarian immediately. It’s always important to watch your pet for any behaviors that seem abnormal. At the first sign of abnormal behavior, it’s time to act.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated this summer along with your pets!

Houston SPCA Summer Heat Safety Week

Founded in 1924, the Houston SPCA provides the most comprehensive array of animal adoption, shelter, rescue, rehabilitation and other programs and services in the Gulf Coast area. Check out all of our adoptable animals and consider the adoption option this summer.

Thank You for Supporting the Houston SPCA’s Mission – Make a Donation!

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any ailment or disease, and is provided for reference. Please consult with your veterinarian with questions or concerns related to heat safety.

Advertisements


Looking for some Summer FUN? How about the Houston SPCA Critter Camp!

camp button

 

Never heard of Critter Camp? 

Critter Camp is the Houston SPCA’s day camp available during summer, winter and spring break. Each day from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, campers ages 8-15 can come to the Houston SPCA to learn all about animals, hear from the Houston SPCA’s amazing staff, play fun animal games, create arts and crafts, and, last but not least, spend time playing with our adoptable shelter pets!

Let’s jump in and see what a typical Critter Camp day looks like!

9:00 am – Campers arrive at the Houston SPCA and begin meeting new friends, playing fun games and learning about animals.

Foster ProgramFoster care coordinator shows campers a foster kitten

9:30 am – Our first guest speaker session! Our guest speakers are staff that work in a variety of departments at the Houston SPCA. Some of our amazing guest speakers include our animal behavior specialists, animal cruelty investigators, rescue ambulance team members, foster care coordinators, and veterinarians. Each guest talks about what they do for the Houston SPCA, the educational background needed to obtain their position, stories about their favorite animal experiences, and why they love to help animals every day.

10:00 am – Lesson about animals. We have a variety of themes for our camps that include lessons about many topics relating to animals. These topics include animal behavior, basic animal care, anatomy and physiology of pets, Texas wildlife, and much more. These lessons include fun games or activities to keep our campers interacting and engaged.

Easter Seals Petting HorseTommy the Llama 110:30 am – Barn Visit! Did you know that the Houston SPCA has its very own barn where we house many equines and farm animals? Our campers get to visit the barn and meet some of our horses, pigs, goats and any other animals that might be residing there at the time. Many of these animals have been rescued from cruel situations and campers learn about the rehabilitation process the animals will go through before they can be adopted into a new family.

SPCA TShirt Toy

11:00 am – DIY craft time. At Critter Camp we love to teach our campers how to create items that can help animals. Every day we create items that can be donated to our animals (or taken home for their family pet) or that teaches them more about animals. Some of my favorites include T-Shirt Tug Toys for dogs, birdseed feeders for our native wildlife and decorated savings banks for campers to save money to donate to their favorite charity.

11:30 am – Lunch time. During lunch we put on fun animal-related movies for our campers to watch. This gives everyone a chance to relax as the day goes by so fast!

Camper getting kissesCritter Camp Chronicle Pic

12:00 pm – SHELTER VISIT!!  This is our campers favorite part of the day. Everyone in camp goes over to the Houston SPCA animal shelter and gets to play with our large dogs, small dogs and cats. Our animal interactions are in a group setting so that each animal we play with gets lots of campers to love on.

Metro K-9 visit 1

METRO Houston Police Canine Program visits Critter Camp

1:30 pm – Second guest speaker session. We have another guest speaker join us in the afternoon. They will either be another Houston SPCA staff member or a very special visitor! We work with local service animal organizations who love visiting our camps to show our campers how amazing animals can be.

Oil Spill Art

Campers create ‘oil paint art’ while learning about oil spill clean-up 

2:15 pm – More DIY crafts or game time. Our campers can decide if they would like to learn how to create new DIY crafts or if they would like to play games, play with puzzles, visit our arts stations they can do so.

2:45 pm – Snack time and parent pick-up. Campers are given a bottle of water and a healthy snack in the afternoon. Campers can choose if they would like to watch an animal video or play games / do craft activities while waiting for their parents to come.

3:00 pm – End of our busy Critter Camp day!

Sign up today for our Summer Critter Camp!

Register here: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/humane_education_critter_camp

Looking for our Summer Critter Camp schedule? Look no further: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/DocServer/2015_Camp_Flyer__schedule_and_registration_info_.pdf?docID=3961 

Have questions about Critter Camp? Check out our FAQ’s: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/DocServer/Critter_Camp_Frequently_Asked_Questions_Updated.pdf?docID=3701 

Summer Critter Camp registration begins March 25, 2015!

 


1 Comment

A cold front is on its way to Houston – Are your pets prepared?

The forecast is looking chilly for the Houston area! With temperatures expected to drop we all want to make sure our pets are prepared for the cold weather.

Housing

Provide proper shelter for your pet whether indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts.

Outdoor pets should have a well insulated house that is wind AND waterproof as well as elevated off the ground so wind and moisture cannot find a way inside.

Extra blankets and straw will also help increase your pet’s warmth.

Make sure to keep room and floor heaters away from your pets as they are an obvious fire hazard and could cause serious injuries.

Food & Water

Make sure to provide fresh , clean water for your pets every day. Each pet should always have a fresh water source.


Outdoor pets need to consume 25 – 50% more calories than usual during the winter because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian to find the right food for your pet.

Cars

Never leave your pet inside of a car! Cars can act like a refrigerator in the winter and your pet could potentially freeze to death if left alone inside a car during the winter months. Even if you are just going out for a little bit to run errands, leave your pets safely at home.

Also – check under the hood! A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor cats. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage those hiding kitties to abandon their spot under the hood.

When taking care of your car’s winter needs, please remember to store all chemicals properly. Dogs and cats are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol. A tiny lick can kill your dog or cat, so make sure to check your car for leaks on your driveway and in your garage. Keep containers tightly closed and clean up spills immediately.

Pet Protection

If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him/her outdoors only to relieve himself/herself. Check with your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s tolerance of the cold weather.

For more information about the Houston SPCA, please visit www.HoustonSPCA.org today!


Valentine’s Day Throwback: Houston SPCA tips for a pet safe Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and the Houston SPCA has the best tips on how to keep your pets safe during this loving holiday!

Head over to our Valentine’s Day pet tips by clicking here: https://houstonspca.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/houston-spca-tips-for-a-pet-safe-valentines-day/

If you want to add a little bit of extra love to your Valentine’s Day, take a trip to the Houston SPCA to find a new furry friend for your family.

You can see all of our adoptable animals by clicking this link: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/adopt_main


Protecting Your Pets: Heartworm Disease

In our newest Humane Education Blog series, ‘Protecting Your Pets,’ we will discuss a variety of issues that all pet owners should be aware of. Keep reading to find out how to best protect your pets!

You have probably heart of heartworms before – they sound rather unpleasant but do you really know how they can affect your pet’s health?

 

Heartworm disease is a serious, life threatening condition in dogs and a major cause of heart disease in cats. It is caused by the presence of the adult stage of the parasite Dirofilaria immitis in the pulmonary arteries and the right ventricle of the heart.

Sounds serious, right? It most definitely is. Heartworm disease can be fatal for your pet BUT is completely PREVENTABLE!

How is heartworm disease transmitted?

It only takes 1 bite from an infected mosquito to transmit heartworm disease to your pets. And there are 22 different mosquito species in the U.S. that carry heartworms. Once bitten, it can take between 3-6 months for the heartworm microfilariae to reach your pet’s heart. Once there, they mature and begin to reproduce.

Diagnosis of heartworms is by a blood test.  Yearly blood tests are recommended for all dogs and cats including those on preventative medication.

Adult heartworms can grow anywhere between 6-12 inches long and can live in the heart for up to 7 years! Doesn’t sound too nice, does it? It can be a painful experience for your pet with advanced symptoms including: difficulty breathing, coughing, tiring easily, listlessness, weight loss, and fainting. If you think your pet may have heartworms, take him or her to your local veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Heartworm Life Cycle:

Heartworm in dogs is treatable – your dog will be given a series of injections by your veterinarian that will kill the heartworms. As the worms begin to die, they will break up into small pieces which can cause a blockage of the pulmonary vessels and cause death. This is why it is absolutely necessary to keep your pet calm and quiet during heartworm treatment and for the few months after treatment has been administered.

There is no current medication approved for treating heartworm disease in cats. Prevention is absolutely necessary for our feline friends just like Oscar (seen below) !

Remember: Heartworm prevention is much less expensive than treatment. Treatment can cost up to 15X more than a year’s worth of heartworm preventative. You will also be saving your pet from a painful experience by preventing heartworm disease in the first place.

For more information about the Houston SPCA please visit our website: www.HoustonSPCA.org

Sources: American Heartworm Society, VCA Hospitals and PetMD.com

 


2 Comments

If Your Dog Poops, You Must Scoop!

Today we are talking all about poop – your pet’s poop that is!

Pet waste is smelly, unsightly and a health risk to pets and people, especially children. If a child happens to touch an object that has come in contact with dog feces and then touches their hand to their mouth or eyes, they could become infected with a disease.

Pet waste, if left on trails, sidewalks and grassy areas, can also be washed into the nearest water system when it rains. The bacteria, parasites and viruses in pet waste can harm water quality and anyone who comes in contact with it.

Here are five reasons why you should always SCOOP THE POOP:

  1. To protect your local water quality.
  2. To protect our children from diseases.
  3. To help monitor your dog’s health.
  4. It is part of being a responsible pet owner.
  5. It’s the law!

Section 6-24 from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services states that it is the duty of each person in control of a dog or cat to promptly remove and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces left by such dog or cat.

So to all my fellow pet owners out there – let’s do our part to keep the environment clean and community healthy… Let’s scoop that poop!

For more information about the Houston SPCA, head over to our website: www.HoustonSPCA.org


Cold Weather Tips for Your Pets from the Houston SPCA

Ever wondered how you can make the winter months safe and comfortable for your pet? Look no further!

The Houston SPCA is here with tips to help keep your pets safe, happy and warm all winter long!

Housing

Provide proper shelter for your pet whether indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts.

 

Outdoor pets should have a well insulated house that is wind AND waterproof as well as elevated off the ground so wind and moisture cannot find a way inside.

Extra blankets and straw will also help increase your pet’s warmth.

Dibs on the Blanket

Snug as a bug in a rug!

Make sure to keep room and floor heaters away from your pets as they are an obvious fire hazard and could cause serious injuries.

Food & Water

Make sure to provide fresh , clean water for your pet every day. Outdoor pets need to consume 25 – 50% more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian to find the right food for your pet.

Cars

Never leave your pet inside of a car! Cars can act like a refrigerator in the winter and your pet could potentially freeze to death if left alone inside a car during the winter months. Even if you are just going out for a little bit to run errands, leave your pets safely at home.

 

Also – check under the hood! A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor cats. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage those hiding kitties to abandon their spot under the hood.

Holiday Treats

If you are like me, when the holidays come around there are lots of treats, sweets and delicious foods around the house. Keep your pets safe by keeping all human foods out of reach. Small amounts of some holiday foods can be very dangerous to your pets. If you think your pet has eaten something they should not have, take them to your veterinarian right away!

We hope these tips will help you keep your pet happy these winter months!

Stay warm friends!

For more information about the Houston SPCA, please visit www.HoustonSPCA.org today!