Caring for Pets During Warm Summer Months
Alas, summer is in full swing and we are excited to have our pets out and about enjoying the summer weather just like we do! Beach and park play, road trips, summer events, hikes in our wonderful State parks and simply leaving our pets outside to allow for them to bask in our elusive sun are all aspects of summer that we enjoy. However, with summer comes certain concern for our 4 legged friends. Let's go over some and if you have questions, comments or concerns please feel free to give us a call.
The first concern during the summer months is heat stroke in our pets. Our pets do not readily dissipate heat via sweating like we do as they really only have sweat glands in the pads of their feet. Cats and dogs will dissipate heat more via open mouth panting. Excessive internal temperatures can cause severe ailments such as seizures, intravascular hemolysis and brain damage. Heat stroke can occur in situations where pets are left in vehicles even for short periods of time, excessive activity during hot days, or even in controlled environments like your back yard. Breeds that are brachycephalic (short nosed), long/thick haired or an older pet are especially susceptible. Thus, it is important to always keep available water and shade to allow for our pets to stay cool and hydrated.
Clinical signs of heat stroke include; heavy panting, glazed over expression, rapid pulse, wobbly and vomiting. If you witness these signs in your pet, it is best to call or see your veterinarian first and in the meantime place cool water on the patient, allow to eat / lick ice cubes, and keep in a cool area.
Our adventures in the summer with our pets also expose them to fleas and ticks, each of which can not only cause irritation but also sometimes carry with them infectious agents that can cause serious disease. It is important to have consistent safe and effective flea tick medication to prevent these parasites from spreading disease. It is also important to ask your veterinarian's opinion on appropriate treatment for flea and tick prevention. Many over the counter treatments can cause serious side effects that we see on a regular basis. Heartworm is another concern for our pets, and although it isn't common on the central coast, it is still very much a concern when traveling so it is important to talk to your veterinarian about regular heartworm treatment.
The beautiful UV rays from the sun that we so rarely see will not only cause sunburn in humans but also on our pets. Certain locations on dogs are more prone like their nose, ear tips and thinly haired areas. White coated animals are especially susceptible. To prevent painful sunburn our pets require sunscreen applied to the aforementioned areas to keep them protected.
In our summer time we strive to surround ourselves in the most beautiful flora as possible either being in our own yards or on our favorite hikes. But as we know beautiful yards and lawns sometimes require fertilizer, pesticides, slug and mouse/rat treatments. These along with some of our favorite plants are very much toxic and our animals should be kept from ingesting said toxicants and if you think your pet did ingest any of these see your veterinarian immediately.
As we enjoy our beaches, parks and favorite hikes with our pets, we have to remember that others pets will also be off leash and as we all know fights commonly break out. It is best to always keep our pets up to date on vaccines, micro chipped, ID tags always on the collar and licensed to alleviate concern of disease spread, pet loss and fines. Spaying and neutering your dog, besides the advantage of eliminating possible health risks associated with intact animals, can reduce chances of these fights. ID tags along with an animal being micro chipped is the best methodology to assure that your pet gets home as quickly as possible when and if they are separated from you.
Remember also that the pavement and especially black top can get to temperatures that can cause burning very quickly to our pets feet and body if left on it for even short periods of time. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration the places where we leave and or walk our pets on these hot days.
Please enjoy your summer with your pet and please remember if you have any questions about their health and or well being to stop by or give us a call. We always enjoy seeing or hearing about our patients.
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