Summer Heat Solutions for Cats and Dogs| University Animal Hospital NYC

The summer heat in New York City is really kicking into high gear. With record heat waves scorching the city and making all of us reconsider even stepping outside there are some that feel the effects of the harsh sun’s rays far worse than we do — our furry children. Both cats and dogs are at risk of overheating as our city roasts like a rotisserie chicken. Cats typically because they’re confined inside baking apartments or homes that often lack suitable air-conditioning when owners are not present and dogs because they’re walking in the intense heat — lacking a sufficient way of naturally cooling themselves.

Dogs are particularly susceptible to the effects of the heat. Heatstroke for canines is dangerous and likely when dealing with temperatures over 100 degrees. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like we do so the heat is much more uncomfortable and dangerous for them. I just read an article this morning about a police dog in Texas that died in the line of duty from heatstroke while pursuing a suspect. It’s a real threat and something people sometimes overlook or forget about. Signs of heatstroke to look out for include: excessive panting (a natural way dogs cool themselves down), drooling, increased salivation, restlessness and other signs of agitation. There are, fortunately, actions pet owners can take in order to help with the dangerous heat that might make these summer months a bit safer for your fuzzy child.

Many people have taken to carrying around a spray bottle when they walk their dog in order to give a relieving cool mist on the face or belly. Consider carrying a collapsible water cup and water to decrease the risk of potential dehydration. Look into obtaining booties to protect his or her pads on the hot pavement and sidewalks. It may seem odd to look at but have you wondered what it might feel like to go barefoot on the Manhattan streets in the blazing heat? Your dog isn’t too concerned with how he looks to strangers (you shouldn’t be either) and avoiding discomfort is probably much higher on his list of priorities.


If your dog is pad/paper trained you should think about foregoing outside walks until the heat has died down. If outside walks are necessary take shorter relief walks as opposed to the usual jog or hour-long strolls. Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior when out and about so you can be aware of significant discomfort or distress. If your dog lays down in the shade or grass perhaps it’s time to head back inside. Take frequent breaks and try to walk in shaded areas or on grass whenever possible.

Keep your home at a reasonable temperature even if you’re not there with your pet. People are often apprehensive about leaving the air-conditioner on when they aren’t home for fear of extreme electric bills. Keep the air conditioning at a level that’s safe for your stay-at-home pets but that won’t kill your energy bill. Make sure the water you leave out is cool and that the bowl is full. Consider dropping an ice cube in from time to time when you are home with them. Do not ever leave your dog in an unattended car for any period of time even if you think you’ll only be gone for a moment. In under ten minutes the inside of your car can reach temperatures of over 102 degrees so no amount of time in a car alone is acceptable or excusable.

The most important thing to remember is that your dogs and cats can’t verbalize the discomfort that the summer heat bestows upon them. It is up to you to keep your eyes and ears open and look for the signs of distress or overheating. Be alert and present when you’re taking your walks and pay attention to the tiny details that your dog is giving you. The dangers of the heat are too great to risk and you know your fuzzy child is worth it.


Dog Paws on the Snowy Streets | University Animal Hospital NYC

So I might be jumping the gun here just a little bit. I accept that the current rainy and humid mess that has become New York City is not yet the chilling winter nightmare that is just around the corner. Having said that, the chilling mess is just around the corner and that means a whole mess of issues fuzzy child’s feet. Dog paws run a great risk of falling victim to the elements when snow and ice are factored into their daily walk schedule.


What comes with chilling weather? Streets and sidewalks covered in snow and ice which inevitably leads to salt and de-icers all over the sidewalks.

This is potentially harmful for your pooch when going on even brief relief walks during these days. The salt and de-icers have chemicals in them that can be very harsh on dog paws (or specifically, the pads) causing dryness and cracking. The impulse to lick their paws after walking on the streets can lead to unintentional ingestion of said chemicals.

Fortunately, there are solutions to help during these harsh New York City cold months.


1. Consider picking up booties for your dog. There are a number of options here. There are ones with rubber on the bottom that can help with traction so your furry child doesn’t slip and slide — struggling to keep his footing. There are little ones that look like balloons that are very easy to get on and off their paws and can help with traction as well. Many of them are also waterproof to help in the rain. There are ones that velcro or slip on and off. The market for these has actually expanded quite a bit in recent years. Most pet stores carry these and finding ones that best meet your needs isn’t as difficult as it once may have been.

“But wait! My dog HATES wearing his booties! I have the hardest time getting them on and when they ARE on he/she does everything in his/her power to get them off!”

Try rewarding your pup with a treat immediately after getting the booties on. This works as both a positive reinforcement and also as a distraction. Immediately after the treat hurry them out on the walk. This distraction will also keep them focused on the new activity (the walk) versus the old activity (“put your shoes on!”)

2. Musher’s Secret. This is a gel that you rub onto your dog’s pads just prior to going out. It acts as a protective layer against the salt and ice while also allowing your dog traction. This is obviously not waterproof so your dog can still get wet feet if stepping in puddles or thick snow. The other downside is you need to wash it off immediately after getting home to ensure your pet does not lick the gel off.

Having said that, it’s a fantastic product for people who have issues getting booties on and off of their dog. I’ve also heard that petroleum jelly can be used in the same way. Obviously, the same rule for cleaning off the pads should be applied here. You don’t want your pet eating a lot of petroleum jelly. I can’t imagine that would be good.

“Oh hai! We has the same coat…”

3. Raincoats and Jackets. It’s probably helpful for most dogs to have some kind of jacket or coat in the cold weather but special consideration should be given for puppies, older dog, small-breed and short-haired dogs as well. These fuzzy friends all require more protection from the elements and even short periods outside without a coat can be difficult for them to handle.

Next time you’re coming in to see one of our fantastic doctors at University Animal Hospital ask them about options for protecting your furry child in the cold weather. They’ll have plenty of suggestions that pertain specifically to your pet.

Overweight Pets Are In The Majority

Study Says 57% of Cats and 52% of Dogs Are Obese

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has revealed that pet obesity rates has held steady in the past year, with 57.6% of cats and 52.6% of dogs recorded as overweight or obese, despite efforts by the Association to spread awareness of the dangers of pet obesity. Pet obesity, like obesity in humans, can lead to osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, cancer and decreased life expectancy.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention also found most owners of overweight pets do not realize their pet is considered overweight. 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners believed their overweight pets were in the normal weight range.  “There’s an entire nation of pet owners who are loving their pets to death with too many calories and not enough exercise,”said Joe Bartges, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist and internist. “They are in the dark that their pets are overweight and that a host of diseases can arise as a result.”

Summer Fun For Your Dog In NYC

Whether you prefer doggie adventures on leash, off-leash, in wide open spaces or on specialized runs, New York City is filled with options for fresh air, bonding, and good times. Following is a list of pooch-friendly dog runs in Manhattan.

Jemmy’s Run (Madison Square Park; East 24th St.; at Fifth Avenue): The Village Voice listed Jemmy’s Run as the “Best Place to Ogle Others’ Dogs!” A doggie favorite, it’s clean, with plenty of space.

Dog Run 105 (105th St. in Riverside Park): Open from sunrise until 1:00 am, there are organized events throughout the year; nice area with crushed stone surface and water for pets and their humans.

Sir William’s Dog Run (Inside Fort Tryon Park; Broadway & 192nd St.): Open from sunrise until 1:00 am, Sir William’s is one of the oldest dog runs in Manhattan. There is almost an acre of fenced open roaming space, separate spaces for large and small dogs, and even a coffee/donut event for dog owners on the first Sunday of each month.

Tom’s Dog Run (Chelsea Waterside Park; 11th Ave and West 24th St.): With its special rock formations and a fallen tree bridge, Tom’s Run is unique.

Tompkins Square Park Dog Run (9th St; the path in Tompkins Square Park; between Avenues A & B): Open 6:00 am until midnight, Tompkins has lots of space with three puppy pools (bone shaped!), crushed granite surface, and even a dog wash as you approach the exit.

And for a pooch friendly park, it’s Central Park all the way complete with its famous Balto statue. With 23 areas specifically designated as dog-friendly, there is plenty of space for exploring. Although dogs are not allowed everywhere (Sheep Meadow, Strawberry fields, ball fields are all excluded), they are allowed off-leash (in dog approved areas) before 9:00 am and after 9:00 pm. Central Park Paws even hosts events for dog owners – like Monthly Bagel Barks, giving dog owners the opportunity to socialize while pooches play off-leash. The My Dog Loves Central Park Country Fair offers competitions in agility and obedience, while promoting services that support pet health and safety.