The Auto Greenhouse Effect

Well we think it’s safe to say that summer is HERE! I learned yesterday after leaving my own pup in my car with the windows down for 30 minutes that leaving-your-dog-in-the-car season is over. A parked car in the sun can resemble a greenhouse’s heating effect. Car windows act to both absorb the sun’s rays and insulate your vehicle. Let’s not forget that the sun feels hotter and is stronger because of our high altitude. We humans can release heat from our bodies through sweating but dogs (and cats) do not have an advanced self-cooling system as we do. ALL dogs are at risk of heat stroke and could die or have irreversible health damages due to heat stroke.

PAWS has created a car temp chart that is handy to keep in your own car to remind you of what temps equal danger for your dog, as even we who have pups and paws on the brain at all times can be guilty of forgetting as the seasons change. It’s never a bad idea to have frozen water bottles for them to lay on or allow them to get wet before getting into your car if there is a chance that you may need to run into the grocery store and leave them behind. Yes stinky, but better stinky than sorry!

Feel free to pick up one of these handy charts from our office or look for our PAWS tent this summer, we’ll be out and about at many community events as well as on the trails and pathways.

If you do see a dog in distress in a car we urge you to call the Sheriff’s Department at 307-733-2331 to have an officer come and check out the scene.

Spring Into Summer Pet Safety

Dare we say summer will soon be here? Us at the PAWS office (both human and dog) are so excited for the upcoming fun in the sun! Our most accident-prone staff dog Milo and our oldest dog on staff, Kingston are currently sitting at my feet reminding me that we should get some pet safety tips out to our readers so their pet comrades stay in tip top summer shape.

1) With the snowpack quickly melting, rotting and odiferous wildlife carcasses are coming to the surface. Milo told us that these findings are incredibly irresistible to him and his dog friends. Its best to keep your dog on a leash while walking in areas that these temptations may exist and to always be aware of what your pup is putting in their mouth as these perished animals can make your dog very sick.

2) Wildlife carcasses aside, also be aware that human folks use DITRAC cakes and other types of rat poison to keep the pests from moving into their homes season to season. If dogs or cats find a poisoned vole or mouse and ingests it, it can do them serious harm and will need to see its vet immediately.

3) The tortoise always wins when it comes to getting back into summer hiking shape, especially with the more senior puppers. Kingston wants all of you owners of the oldies out there to ease into your summer hiking schedule. Start slow and small, summiting a park bench along a flat trail still counts as making it to the top!

4) Buzzing bees are more apparent this time of year and are fun-moving snacks for some curious canines, but if caught can result in a painful and swollen snout and mouth (Kingston can attest to this experience first-paw). If your pooch catches its prize, having Benadryl on hand will help ease their pain and embarrassment. The standard dose is 1 mg per pound. Dabbing coconut oil topically to the wound and/or adding it to their food will help as well. Always best to check with your vet before administering the medication.

5) Allergy season is upon us and cats and dogs can ACHOO-too! You may witness your cat wheezing and their eyes watering. If they are indoor cats try and limit the amount of time you keep your windows open. If your outdoor cat is having these annoying symptoms consider keeping them inside during this high season of pollen and other allergens. When symptoms persist and your animal can’t shake the discomfort a trip to the vet may be needed.

6) Mild temps outside still create cooking temps in cars. The PAWS office receives numerous phone calls each summer from concerned citizens who have found a dog in distress inside a hot car. Even if it’s only 70 degrees outside, the inside of a car can easily reach to over 100 degrees within 40 minutes. Avoid leaving your pets in the car for long periods of time, never in the heat of the day, and ALWAYS provide fresh cold water, leave windows part way down, and park in the shade. When outside temps reach above 80 degrees its best to not leave them in a parked car period.

Spring has Sprung and the Kittens are Coming!

Bye bye Winter, hello Spring, or as we in the animal biz call it, KITTEN SEASON!

Kitten season is the time of year (typically early spring through early fall) when animal shelters and rescues are flooded with, you guessed it, unwanted litters of kittens. It is most common for cats to give birth in the early spring, peaking in the summer, and usually tapering down in the early fall. The easiest way to help reduce the number of unwanted kittens is to have your pet cat spayed or neutered. PAWS of JH just so happens to have an excellent spay and neuter voucher program that issues free to low cost surgery vouchers in the Greater Jackson areas (more info below).

Surely, altering your own cat helps offset the number of unwanted litters, but there is more that we can do to really help make a dent into the amount of unwanted kittens born each year. PAWS of JH is expanding our efforts to reduce the growing number of feral cats in the Greater Jackson areas. Unchecked populations of feral cats lead to suffering and the spread of communicable diseases.
Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is the most humane way to get control of the feral cat population. These cats are accustomed to living outdoors and would not thrive in a shelter or home environment. The kindest thing we can do for these cats is to care for them and make sure their populations are controlled. Over time, these healthy colonies will diminish due to halting the reproduction cycles, our harsh climate, old age, and natural predation. Currently PAWS works with two local trappers who will go to your property, trap the feral cats, bring them to a local vet to be altered, and then return the cats to you. They’ll even give you free cat food to keep the colony fed and happy. PAWS of JH will cover the surgery costs and has resources for donated cat food.

1. Spay/ Neuter your own cat. If the cost of surgery isn’t something you have budgeted for this year please fill out a spay/ neuter voucher application via our website and we will contact you shortly.
2. Be aware of feral/stray/outdoor cats living on your property and have them altered. Please call the PAWS office at 307-734-2441 if you have cats living in your backyard, shed, barn, etc and PAWS can get a trapper out to your property to trap them, transport them to the vet, and return them. This time of year you may see mother cats with litters and the best thing you can do for these babies is to get them spayed or neutered before allowing them to live on your property or attempt at adopting them out to the public. Kittens are able to start reproducing at four months of age.
3. Be a friend to the feral felines. Once the cats have been altered provide them with food, water, and adequate shelter. These cats prefer to be out on their own and “wild,” but do need a little help from their human friends. Putting out cat kibble and fresh water will help keep these cats healthy as well as improve your relationship with them. There is trust in food. If your property does not have a separate cat friendly shelter you can make outdoor cat boxes for very little money.
Check out this DIY example:
4. Adopt don’t shop. If you are in the market for a feline addition to your home please adopt from one of our local shelters or rescues. Your new cat will come spay/neutered, fully vetted, and most importantly you will be saving two cat lives, the one you’ve adopted and the one that will quickly takes its place.
5. Volunteer. Interested in being part of the kitten season solution? PAWS of JH is currently recruiting cat-trappers in Star Valley, Jackson, and Teton Valley so we can continue to expand our efforts and always have a trapper ready when needed. PAWS can provide training with an existing trapper for those who are not trap-savy. PAWS will provide all of the needed supplies for successful and safe trapping. Not into trapping? Please spread the word to your friends, co-workers, and neighbors that our TNR and Spay/Neuter Voucher programs exist and that we are happy to help! Feel free to contact our office at 307-734-2441 or for any additional information.