Tag Archives: pets

Beat the Summer Heat

Summer Heat

It’s officially time for summer fun, which means lots of outdoor activities. But it’s important to protect yourself in the summer heat.

In 2014, 244 people died in the U.S. from excessive heat exposure, and these problems are avoidable.

You can help yourself avoid heat-related illnesses by drinking more liquid than you think you need and avoiding alcohol.

Stay Hydrated

 

Wear loose, lightweight clothing, hats, and plenty of sunscreen on any exposed skin. Sunburns affect your ability to cool down.

Dress for the Sun

 

If you’re sweating a lot, replace lost salt and electrolytes by drinking juice or sports drinks.

Replace Your Salt

 

Avoid spending time outside from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hottest part of the day, and try not to over-exert yourself.

Hottest Part of the Day

 

Babies, the elderly, pets, those with heart problems, and people who exercise or work outside are at the highest risk of heat-related issues.

Risk of Heat-Related Issues

 

If you think someone is experiencing heat exhaustion or cramps, move them to the shade or AC, give them water, use wet towels to cool them down, and if you’re worried or symptoms don’t ease, call 911.

Cooling Down Fast

Aging with Your Pets

Long View: Aging With Our Pets

My grandparents had a Chihuahua that lived to be 20 years old. Suzy had her own knitted sweaters to wear when she went outside. Every night, Grandma cooked and cut up liver in tiny, bite-sized pieces for Suzy’s dinner.

I’m not sure what the life expectancy and living arrangements for most dogs were in the 1950s and 1960s, but I would wager that Suzy’s life was particularly plush for that era. When I came along in 1968, my parents gave me the middle name of Sue. I often wondered if this was a happy coincidence or a tribute to that beloved Chihuahua.

Today, I have a yellow Labrador retriever puppy named Harvey. Grandpa’s name was Harvey. Touché.

Americans love their pets. Take a stroll through your local big-box pet supplies chain, and the number of things a person can buy for their animals will amaze you. Strollers, raincoats, probiotics, gluten-free and vegan dog food, and even memory foam mattresses. Within just a few miles of my house, Harvey can go to a doggy day camp, swim at an indoor pool just for pooches, and later have his hair and nails done at the pet spa.

Your pet pampers you in different ways. Owning a pet lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and raises mental sharpness. A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that petting a dog for 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, while also lowering the stress hormone cortisol.

Pets can open up a lonely world and get you out of bed in the morning. Walking a dog (or a cat, if you are particularly brave and the cat is extremely cooperative) is good exercise. Those of us with an empty nest find a new sense of purpose. And nurturing a beloved animal gives us unconditional love in return.

An older person with a pet companion can be a heartwarming love match. I reached out to Stacey Teager, from the Quad City Animal Welfare Center, for some advice for those who are looking to add a pet to their home in later years.

  • Make sure your pet gets regular checkups and immunizations. Have your animal spayed or neutered.
  • Never give your pet “people” medications. Always consult a veterinarian before medicating your pet.
  • Have a plan in place with your family or close friends for caring for your pet should you become sick and need to be hospitalized or stay in a nursing facility.
  • Match your pet with your physical capabilities. My 50-pound Labrador retriever puppy can drag my mother down the sidewalk. This is dangerous for both her and the dog. A quieter, smaller animal is a better choice for her to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Despite my grandmother’s loving intentions, don’t feed your pet table scraps or human food. Animals can get overweight and unhealthy with just a few added ounces. If you like to bake, there are lots of recipes for animal treats that use ingredients found in your pantry.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Animal Poison Prevention

Animal Poison Prevention

It’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week, and there are ways for you to protect your pets, especially in your home.

Not all food you eat is safe for your pets. Don’t give your pets chocolate, onion, garlic, coffee, avocados, raisins or grapes.

Feeding Pets Smart

 

You should also never give your pets fruit pits, like peach pits, or any bones, which can splinter and damage their digestive system.

Smart Snacking for Pets

 

Store your pets’ medications somewhere separate from your own so you never accidentally give them human meds.

Pet Medication Storage

 

Make sure your meds are stored in a secure place so your pets can never accidentally get into them.

Protecting Your Pets from Your Meds

 

Always keep cleaning supplies in a secure place that your pets can’t get to. These chemicals can be very harmful for them.

Cleaning and Your Pets

 

Make sure your pets can’t get to batteries, potpourri, yarn, rubber bands, or floss in your home, all of which can be harmful.

Also protect pets from insecticides, antifreeze, plant food and fertilizer outside. And know which plants are poisonous to them.

Protecting Pets from Poisoning

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Protecting Your Pets for Christmas

Holiday Pet Safety

You may not have realized that the holidays can be a dangerous time for your furry friends, but these holiday pet safety tips can help.

Make sure your Christmas tree is anchored so it can’t tip and fall when your pets jostle it.

Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers and is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause upset stomachs in pets.

Christmas Trees and Your Pets

 

Avoid mistletoe and holly. Holly causes nausea in pets, and mistletoe upsets their stomachs and can cause heart problems.

Avoiding Poisonous Christmas Plants

 

Kitties love sparkly tinsel, but when they nibble on it, it can cause blocked digestive tracts, which can lead to expensive surgery.

Protecting Playful Kitties

 

Keep wires and glass and plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach to avoid electric shocks and cuts to feet and mouths.

Curious Kittens and Ornaments

 

Make sure batteries aren’t left in pets’ reach. They can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus when punctured.

Toy Safety Around Pets

 

As you count down to the new year, avoid confetti strings, which can get stuck in pets’ intestines, and noise poppers and fireworks around timid pets.

Fighting Pet Fear

Safe and Happy Holidays

Holiday Safety Tips

These important holiday safety tips can help you have a happy and safe season. Make sure you’re decorating smart with the 12 Days of Safety.

12 Days of Safety

 

Angel hair for decorating is made from spun glass and can irritate your eyes and skin. Wear gloves or use non-flammable cotton instead.

Avoiding Angel Hair

 

Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if you breathe it in, so follow the directions carefully.

Spraying Fake Snow Safely

 

Make sure poisonous plants, like some poinsettias, are above the reach of children and pets.

Safe Decoration Placement

 

Choose your gifts wisely. Give older family members presents that aren’t heavy or awkward to carry.

Safe Gift-Giving

 

Be aware of the dangers of coin lithium batteries when giving gifts during the holidays.

 

Make sure you have a designated driver from holiday parties, and be prepared for driving in the snow during holiday travel.

Drive Smart During the Holiday Season

 

Learn More

Get more important decorating holiday safety tips for a healthy and safe holiday season.

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National Water Quality Month

National Water Quality Month

August is National Water Quality Month, and with lead pipe contamination in the news, it’s the perfect time to talk water safety.

Protect your home’s water by not using antibacterial soaps or cleaning products.

Don’t flush unwanted or out-of-date medications down the toilet or drain.

Don't Flush Drugs

 

Don’t put anything but water down storm drains.

Protect Storm Drains

 

Fix leaky cars and put a liner in your driveway to catch oil and other car fluids.

Avoiding Car Fluid Leaks

 

Avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilizers in your yard.

Smart Gardening

 

Choose nontoxic household products whenever possible.

Responsible Cleaning

 

Pick up after your pets and avoid paving your property.

Pets in Your Yard

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Protecting Your Lungs for Respiratory Care Week

Respiratory Care Week

For Respiratory Care Week and Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we’re focusing on some asthma education.

How well do you know your asthma? Find out now.

The treatment of asthma dates back to ancient civilizations. Learn about the disease throughout the ages.

Your lifestyle, including your diet and activity, can help or hurt your asthma. Learn about what you can do.

You can keep track of the air quality to protect your lungs with the Air Quality Index.

There’s an app for everything, including your asthma and allergies. Find one that helps you.

Asthma doesn’t have to slow you down. Learn more about being athletic despite lung issues.

Your pets can have trouble breathing too. Look for signs that they need a trip to the vet.