The heat is on the way! Are you prepared to keep your pet(s) safe this summer? Summer brings a lot of dangers to our pets: the heat, biting insects, pools and lakes, thunderstorms as well as holidays in which (very loud) fireworks are a part of the festivities.
It is important to remember that dogs (and cats!) need an escape from the summer heat just like we do. Never leave your pets outdoors unattended or in a car in the heat! Pets left outdoors and in the car (which can easily reach well over 130 degrees in just a few minutes!) are in danger of suffering from heat exhaustion and stroke. Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke including: excessive panting, drooling, weakness, high temperature, vomiting, dark red gums, rapid heartbeat, loss of coordination, unresponsiveness, collapse and loss of consciousness. If you observe any of these signs in your pet, contact your vet immediately and begin the process of slowly cooling him down.
Your pets should be given year-round heartworm, flea and tick preventive. The summer months bring an increased risk of heart worms, flea infestations and tick born diseases. Check your pet regularly for signs of fleas and ticks and continue yearly heartworm checks as these parasites can be deadly!
People often assume that dogs just ‘know’ how to swim. However, many dogs do not know how to swim at all! Before bringing your pet to the pool or lake, be sure to test his swimming ability first. Never leave your pet unattended near pools and lakes as they run the risk of drowning and remember, if you own a pool, to practice an exit route with your dog in case he were to fall in. Exercise the same caution you would with a small child when taking your pets near the water!
As the summer heat approaches, so does the risk for thunderstorms. Many dogs have noise phobias which manifest during thunderstorms. Be vigilant for the signs of stress (panting, drooling, restlessness, enlarged pupils, increased heart rate, pacing, etc...) during a thunder storm and seek professional help from an animal behaviorist if storms cause your pet anxiety. The same rules apply to fireworks as well. Never leave your pet unattended during fireworks if you are unsure of their reaction. Finally, be sure to include your pets in your family evacuation plan in case of a summer emergency!