Summer Pet Health
Pets love the fun and freedom of summer just as much as their owners do. But high temperatures can pose real dangers, and frivolous summer activities can quickly turn into trouble if we don't keep a close eye on our furry loved ones. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure pets are cared for properly during all seasons. Here are some extra precautions to take during the summer.
- Never leave an animal waiting in a parked car. Even if it seems cool outside, the sun can quickly heat the interior of your vehicle to a dangerous 50° C, leaving your animal helpless in searing heat. If you're running errands where animals aren't allowed to accompany you, it's best to leave them at home.
- If you're bringing your pet on a lengthy car ride, a few simple steps will make the experience easier and safer for you both. Ease him or her into a long drive by taking the animal on several shorter trips beforehand. Never allow your dog to hang his or her head out the window - flying debris can get caught in the animal's ears and eyes. Pets riding in the back of a pick-up truck are exposed to the same dangers, and may even be thrown from the vehicle if you brake suddenly.
- To avoid heatstroke, which can be fatal, keep your pets cool and well hydrated. If heatstroke occurs, it is imperative that you act quickly. Signs include heavy panting, a purple tongue, unsteadiness and vomiting.
- If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, immediately apply cool water to his or her body to lower the temperature. Give your pet ice cubes to lick - drinking lots of water during a heatstroke makes animals ill. Even if your pet seems to improve, bring him or her to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Further treatment is often required to prevent shock and brain damage.
- Check for fleas, ticks and mites at least once a week, especially around their ears, on their legs and at the base of their tails. Use a repellent recommended by your veterinarian.
- If your pet spends a fair amount of time outside in the backyard during summer, overhanging tree branches will not give him or her sufficient shade. A shelter or doghouse must be provided.
- If you're planning an overnight getaway with your pet, call ahead to ensure that pets are welcome where you'll be lodging.
- Don't allow pets to swim in chlorinated water - it irritates their eyes. And although many animals love to swim, they can also be victims of drowning, so keep a watchful eye on your pets whenever they are in the water.
- Re-fill water dishes several times a day and never let them run dry. If you're taking a walk together, bring fresh water and a container that your pet is able to easily drink from. Animals can succumb to heatstroke very quickly when dehydrated.