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How to Keep Your Dog Cool When It's Hot Outside

Tips to help your dog keep their cool

When the temperatures rise, you may be able to stay cool by sweating or drinking a nice glass of iced tea, but your dog isn't so lucky. Not only should your dog not drink tea — or any caffeinated beverage, for that matter — they also really don't have the ability to sweat very well. Dogs mostly cool themselves off by panting.

So, how can you help keep your pup comfortable and safe when the mercury starts to rise? Fret not, this article contains some tips, tricks, and cool (pun intended) product suggestions that can help.

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Topics: pet safety tips, Summer Pet Safety Tips, Heat Stroke

Is It Legal to Break a Car Window to Save a Dog?

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Topics: Dog Safety, Summer Pet Safety Tips, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Dog, Signs of Heat Stroke, Heat Exhaustion in Dogs, Heat Stroke Risk Factors

Dog in a Hot Car – Would You Break the Window? Read this First!

Should you break a window to save a dog in a hot car?

You might've seen or read in the news recently the story of Michael Hammons, the Desert Storm veteran who was charged with criminal trespassing after breaking a car window to save a dog locked in a hot car. The story has prompted lots of comments, with most expressing their support for Mr. Hammonds and many declaring that they would've done the same in his situation.

Update: Fortunately the charges were dropped.

But as Mr. Hammons' story highlights, when it comes to pets locked in hot cars, sometimes doing the right thing can land you in hot water. So how, as a pet-loving society, can we protect, save, and advocate for pets while avoiding the prospect of criminal charges ourselves?

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Topics: Cat Health, Emergencies, Dog Health, pet safety tips, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, Blog

BBQs, Sun, Water, and Fun - Oh My! Summer Pet Safety for Your Dog.

Come summer, who isn’t ready for the sunshine, BBQs, fireworks, trips to the river, lake, beach, and all the other joys that summer brings?

Believe it or not, there is one group that likely isn’t ready… your pets!

With a few simple steps you can help prepare your pets and keep them safe this summer. This article will serve as an overview of the summer hazards that commonly sicken, injure, and kill cats and dogs this time of year. Awareness is such an important part of prevention. So please, give this article a good read and be sure to share it with your pet-loving friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Here’s to a safe and wonderful summer for all – human and pet, alike!

Summer Pet Safety Tips:

  1. Summer carries dangers from heat, water, toxins, and an increase in injuries.
  2. Always consider your pet’s safety and comfort.
  3. Sometimes it’s better to leave your pet safe in the home, rather than exposed to danger.


Though that beautiful glowing orb in the sky improves our collective mood and helps to sustain life on our planet, it can lead to a few significant problems for our beloved pets, too.
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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, flea treatment, High Rise Syndrome, Dogs, Safety, Cats, Summer, Heat Stroke, Pets, Swimming, Boating, Barbeques, Sunburn, Blue Green Algae, Snails, Paw Pad Burns, Fireworks, Slugs, Antifreeze, Blog

Does Giving Ice Water to a Dog Cause Bloat?

Quite a few people have emailed me in the last couple of days regarding a certain blog post that seems to be making the rounds again - it’s an article from 2007 warning about the supposed danger of giving ice water to dogs.

The author claims - quite emphatically - that drinking ice water caused her dog, “Baran”, to bloat.

While the author’s heart is likely in the right place, her facts and the conclusion she arrives at (and sadly propagated since 2007) are way off base.

First of all, if Baran even bloated, which, based upon the reported findings at surgery (“Baran’s stomach was in its normal anatomic position”), is seriously in doubt - it’s far more likely that it was caused by drinking a large volume of water in a short space of time following exercise than it was to the cold temperature of said water. But sadly, many of the important details are left out of the story.

The greater likelihood is that Baran was suffering from heat-related illness, probably heat exhaustion. It was this that caused him to drink so much water in such a short space of time, which can easily lead to nausea, which itself can show the reported signs of “dry heaving and drooling” and “was in some distress”. Yes, these are common signs of bloat in dogs - but it’s not the only condition they are associated with.

From here, the validity of the story unravels even further. While it is definitely correct to bring a dog exhibiting these signs directly to the vet, it is unlikely that the attending veterinary teams would have handled the situation the way the author describes.

One of the key statements that undermines the series of events as the author describes them is, again, the surgical findings… the “stomach was in its normal anatomic position”. Unless the stomach spontaneously derotated, which is possible, though highly unlikely, there was never any torsion (stomach twist) in the first place, and X-rays taken at the time of presentation at the first vet hospital and/or at the emergency clinic would have shown this. And if these X-rays showed gas accumulation, the “bloat” (dilatation) that the owner claims in the story, the attending veterinarian would have decompressed the stomach via stomach tube - not surgery.

Sadly, there are many holes in this story, this is just one (albeit a big one). And I’m not the only vet to debunk this story, you can read Dr. Patty Khuly’s response or Dr. Audry Harvey’s. These are just two other examples, there are many more. In fact, even Snopes.com, the wonderful “urban myth hole poker”, has a nice long article on this story.

But again, the goal is to educate, and the author’s heart is in the right place - spreading awareness of canine bloat (better called GDV, or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus) is crucially important. So let’s capitalize on the popularity of this story and spread some real knowledge about GDV/Bloat, and let’s go a step further and spread some real knowledge about heat-related illness in dogs, too. After all, the erroneous advice and conclusion of the story doesn’t diminish the real dangers of GDV/Bloat and heat-related illness in pets. So please, read and share the information I’m presenting below - and especially do so if you made the mistake of previously sharing the erroneous story that prompted this post. If this factual information gets as many shares as the original story we’ll all have saved an awful lot of lives, and an awful lot of pet owner stress.

Learn more about GDV/Bloat.

Learn more about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.

Ironically, there is a very real danger related to givin

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, Torsion, GDV, Risks for GDV, Bloat, Treatment for GDV, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Dog, Dog's stomach, volvulus, Gastric Dilatation, Is ice water bad for dogs, Blog

Recognizing and Helping Overweight and Obese Dogs

What do you think about your pet's weight? Be honest. Do you think that they're an appropriate weight? Do you think they're too thin? Too heavy?

Would it surprise you to learn that nearly 56% of the dogs, and nearly 60% of the cats in America are overweight or obese? This is according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and based upon the results of their 2017 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study. What is perhaps even sadder, and will make the problem that much more difficult to combat, is that many owners were mistaken about their own pet’s weight.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Cat Diet, Dog DIet, Heat Stroke, Food, Exercise, Urethral Obstruction, How much should my cat eat, How much should my dog eat, Calories, Hepatic Lipidosis, Pancreatitis, Ideal pet weight, Obesity, Diabetes, Diabetic

Heat Stroke: What can I do if I see a pet in a parked car?

We all know that heat kills pets, right?

You've likely read stories about dogs that have died of heat stroke after having been left in a car on a hot day. Maybe you even know someone who lost a pet to heat stroke as a result of leaving their pet in a parked car? But would you know what to do if you ever encountered such a situation?

Take these three scenarios, for example…

Scenario #1… You're walking by a parked car on a warm day. You notice, there under the dash, a dog panting away with big, wide-open, clearly distressed eyes. There are slobbery nose prints and fog on the inside of the window.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, Dog Emergency, Dogs, Cats, Summer, Heat Stroke, Pets, Cars, Signs of Heat Stroke, Blog, What can I do if I see a dog in a car on a hot day, Rescuing a dog in a locked car, Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

Dogs in Cars: Debunking Five Dangerous Misconceptions

Sadly there are still many erroneous myths and misconceptions out there surrounding the idea of leaving pets in parked cars. These contribute to dangerous practices that result in the heat stroke cases and deaths that my colleagues are seeing on a daily basis in the news and online all-too-frequently.

This article should debunk these misconceptions and hopefully get us closer to ending these dangerous practices. Use it to educate yourself and protect your pets, and share it to help educate others. The more people we can get to recognize the inherent dangers of these misconceptions and practices, the more injuries and deaths from heat stroke we can all help to prevent.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger, Pets, Prevention, Blog

Heat Stroke In Dogs: What is it and when does it happen?

What Is Heat Stroke In Dogs?

When a dog’s body temperature rises over 104°F and his mechanisms for cooling himself – such as panting – become overwhelmed and stop working properly, heat stroke sets in.

Sadly it’s not just a dog’s thermoregulatory (“cooling”) system that fails in heat stroke. As the condition progresses and the body temperature rockets even further above 104°F, most body systems fail. Among them are the all-important neurologic, urinary, circulatory, and blood clotting systems. Once these systems begin to fail, the likelihood of recovery from heat stroke is very slim.

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Topics: Kids and Pets, Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger

Heat Stroke: How To Treat My Pet's Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke?

In this article you’ll find an outline of the first aid steps you should take to treat a cat or dog suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

You’ll also find important warnings and principles of first aid for heat-related illnesses.

Please keep in mind that while many of the more mild cases of heat exhaustion can be successfully staved off with the basic first aid steps provided below, all cases of heat stroke (and many of the more severe cases of heat exhaustion) will require veterinary care following your initial first aid. When in doubt, just bring your pet for veterinary evaluation, as heat-related illnesses are nothing to be trifled with. These are cases where it’s truly better to be safe than sorry.

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Topics: Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger, Pets, Prevention

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.