Summer is the time for fun, outdoor activities, swimming, picnics and vacations. And, of course, people like to share many of their summer activities with their animal companions. Unfortunately, every summer many beloved pets die needlessly in extremely hot weather.
HEAT exhaustion is one of the most common diseases of pets during the summer months, so pet owners should be careful. If it is an exceptionally hot day, keep your dog or cat in the house with you and a fan and / or air conditioning. If it’s too hot outside for you, it’s too hot outside for your pet. Signs of heat stroke can include: hot skin, rapid panting, muscle twitching, drooling, dazed expression. Wrap your pet in a towel with cool, not COLD water. Refresh him by giving him ice cubes to lick (because cold water will upset his stomach and speed up dehydration). Let it lie down in front of a fan. To avoid heat exhaustion, make sure your outdoor pets have access to shade and fresh water and that you monitor them at least several times a day to make sure they are OK.!
NEVER leave your pet in a parked car, even if you break the windows or park in the shade. The temperature in the car can rise quickly and cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke or even death. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside your car, even with the windows a little open, will rise to 102 degrees in 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, it will go up to 120 degrees or even more!
GIVE your pet plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. Dogs can only sweat through the pads of their feet and while panting. Evaporation from the wet surfaces of their mouths and noses helps lower their body temperatures.
Do not leave your pet in an empty house or tied up outside during your vacation.
NEVER force your dog to run in hot, humid weather. Watch for hot pavements. Sensitive paws burn easily. After a walk or run, check your dog’s paws to make sure he is fine.
KEEP vaccines up to date. It is a time when most pets come into contact with other animals in parks, beaches, lakes and campgrounds.
DO NOT let your animals roam the streets. Veterinarians see many combat wounds and bites in the summer, as well as animals struck or run over by cars.
USE preventive Heartworm like mosquitoes which increase considerably in summer, carry Heartworm – one of the most deadly ailments of pets. Mosquitoes carry a parasite that causes pulmonary vascular disease that can lead to heart failure. Preventive medications are the best way to avoid this deadly disease.
Wasps, bees and hornets are also a problem during the summer. While there is no real way for your pets to avoid being bitten, they can be treated with antihistamines to reduce swelling after an attack. If the swelling does not go away, see your veterinary!
WATCH the exercise and diet of your pets. Overfeeding can cause overheating. Eating less is healthier for them. Do not encourage exercise during the hottest part of the day. Early morning and evening are the best times to exercise.
CHIPS, ticks and other parasites can infest your pet. There are many good products to prevent fleas and ticks from your pet. Check with your veterinarian!
When planning a vacation, don’t forget your animal companions. Also plan for them. If you plan to take them with you, make sure they will travel comfortably (with lots of potties and exercise stops) and that they are welcome in hotels, guesthouses, etc. and your destination. If you leave them behind, make sure you have a well-accredited daycare or boarding school. References from trusted veterinarians and animal-loving friends are always helpful. Check them well before your proposed trip and make reservations, leaving them a list of medications and instructions on diet, exercise, etc. Leave the name of your veterinarian with friends and neighbors who know your pet. Leave your location and how to reach you.
On holidays such as July 4 when your pet is exposed to loud noises such as fireworks, make sure it has a safe and quiet place / sanctuary inside your home, that ” he is in a room from which he cannot escape or flee and that you have the television or the radio on so that he distracts or deflects frightening outside sounds. Keep your pet away from crowds and loud noises. This will keep him calm and safe!
BY following these tips, there is a good chance that you and your animal companions will enjoy a safe, healthy and happy summer!
by Diane Pomerance Ph.D.