Below are some pet health hazards that can occur during the hot weather.
Heat stroke: Certain breeds are prone to heat stroke (brachiocephalic or pushed in muzzle breeds) but all of us are susceptible to the effects of high heat. Try to walk and play with your dogs during the cooler times of the day and always carry water with you at all times. Never, ever leave your dog unattended in the car. Even if it is “just for a few minutes, with the window cracked”. The temperature will rise to 110 degrees F. in no time, and death can result.
Insects and parasites: Insects and parasites are more numerous in the summer months. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos can create problems varying from a slight annoyance to a full-blown medical emergency. Fleas create severe allergic reactions in both pets and people. Ticks are capable of passing very severe diseases to our pets (Lyme’s disease, Ehrlichiosis), and mosquitos in our area can create annoying bites and/or pass Heartworm disease to dogs and cats. Fortunately, there is effective medication to prevent all these diseases.
Barbeques: Whenever you are hosting family or friends for a get together and/or barbeque, lay out the ground rules ahead of time: “Please do not feed my pets any food from the barbeque or table!” Dogs and cats have very sensitive digestive tracts and food that they don’t often eat (and are particularly high in fat) can create symptoms ranging from simple diarrhea to full blown pancreatitis. Nothing ruins a barbeque more than having your pet vomit all over the guests! Watch out for little morsels of food that drop from the picnic table too! All it takes is a little bit of (fill in the blank with sour cream, mayonnaise, potato chips, hot dogs, ice cream, cake) to make a dog so sick that you think that he may die.
Anti Freeze: Some of us are so conscientious that we remember to add a little antifreeze to our radiators during the summer months to prevent overheating of our automobiles. Be extremely careful while utilizing these products. Most are very toxic to pets and even a small quantity of anti freeze ingested can cause acute kidney failure. Pets find these antifreeze products attractive because they taste sweet.
Larger Pests: When hiking or in dry terrain, be wary of rattlesnakes. Fortunately, there is a vaccination now available for dogs to help minimize the severe medical consequences of being bit. Other predators will be out and about hunting for food (coyotes, bobcats), so keep your small pets inside as much as possible and always in sight.
Dog parks and beaches: Many more people and their pets take advantage of the longer days and nice weather by frequenting beaches and dog parks with their pets. This is a blessing and a curse. It is certainly nice to have a group of well socialized dogs playing together, romping around, and having fun. All it takes, however, is one bully to ruin the party. Be aware of any dog that acts aggressively toward the other dogs (or people) and keep your distance. Most pet owners are aware of their pet’s behavior issues, but some are so obtuse as to take the opportunity to take their dog “Killer” to the dog park for his first experience during the most crowded part of the day. Fights, lacerations, dog bites can ensue that will require immediate medical attention. The rule of thumb is to pay attention and be vigilant at all times.
We hope you have a safe and wonderful summer.