Summer Pet Wellness Tips
Ah, summer. Warm weather is finally here; but with the rise in temperature brings along dangers associated with heat, ticks and pet health complications. Keep your dog and cat safe this summer with the following pet care tips:
Sometimes we forget that dogs and cats cannot easily dress down like we can in the summertime - unless pet owners take their dog to a professional dog groomer. They may not be showing it, but pets are sweating in the summer season. Dehydration and heat stroke are major threats for both pet owners and pets; and it's important that both animal and human drink extra water during summer and take breaks from the sun.
Heat Stroke and dehydration go hand-in-hand. Dogs with short snouts or overweight pups are more likely to get heat stroke. Know the signs of heat stroke in dogs:
- Dry gums
- Decreasing urination
- Loss of appetite
- Drooping eyes
If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, hose them down with cool water; give them fresh water to drink; and get them to shade. Dogs are big fans of ice cubes and may enjoy a dip in the pool or in a kiddie pool (just make sure they have a floating device, if needed)!
Dogs keep cool by panting; and they will pant excessively while outside for long periods of time. Dogs also release heat from their paws; which is why it is necessary to avoid hot pavement or asphalt. It may be best to take dogs for late afternoon walks when the heat is decreasing and the sun is going down to avoid pains in paw pads.
Dogs love a good car ride; but if you stop to go into the store, and leave your dog there, stop this habit. There can be damaging effects to dogs if the temperature is above 65 degrees. (Remember, dogs are wearing a fur coat.)
Ticks thrive in warmer climates and appear in woody areas, such as hiking trails, driveways and gardens. There are many types of ticks crawling throughout the United States that are carrying tick-borne illnesses harmful to pets and humans including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If you usually send your dog to the backyard to play in an outdoor dog enclosure, then you will want to perform a through tick check on your dog when you bring them inside to cool down. If your dog has been bitten by a tick, know how to remove the tick properly with tick tweezers and take it to the vet for identification. Dogs will also need to visit their veterinarian immediately to test for tick-borne diseases. There are a number of tick collars and dog shampoos that can be applied, if tick infection is transmitted.
Pet owners can eat BBQ and other summertime meals all day; but they may want to avoid giving dogs anything off the grill. Dogs have trouble digesting corn on the cob; and BBQ chicken can give dogs diarrhea. Avoid giving dogs watermelon, peaches and any fruits with pits, cores or seeds, as these types of fruit are choking hazards for pets. Pets also should avoid ice cream and anything with chocolate.
Summertime is a favorite season for so many pet owners; and it's a great time of year to bond with your pets. Take the necessary steps to proper pet healthcare; and enjoy the outdoors together!