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Local Vet Advice: How to Protect Your Pet This Summer

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With summer right around the corner, it’s a good time to refresh your memory about how to keep your pet safe during this activity laden season. As a pet owner, we love our pets and we strive to make sure they are protected at all times, but there are a few helpful tips that can go a long way in ensuring your pet’s safety during the spring and summer months you might not know of. With that being said, here’s helpful advice that will go a long way in making your pet’s summer a healthy and safe one.

Prevent Overheating

Animals (and humans) are prone to tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, flea infestations and many other potential hazards this summer. However, perhaps the most dangerous aspect of summer you need to protect your pet from is the heat. Pets can overheat when left outside or in a hot car during the summer and when this happens your pet can overheat rapidly. In fact, dogs and cats can suffer a fatal episode of heat stroke in just a matter of minutes.

This happens because our furry friends—dogs in particular—don’t sweat through their skin like humans do. Instead, they rely on panting to regulate their body temperatures and, once a dog loses its ability to control its body temperature, heat stroke sets in. To avoid this, you need to know the symptoms of overheating such as diarrhea, vomiting, dry gums, increased saliva production, confusion, and erratic heart rhythms.

Don’t Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car

You don’t want to wait until your pet shows these symptoms because when these occur the damage is already done. The key word here is prevention and here are great tips on how to prevent your pet from overheating. First and foremost, you should never leave your pet in the car when the temperatures are high.

Even on rather mild 80-degree weather days, the temperature in a car with the windows cracked can reach a scalding 120 degrees in just thirty minutes. Temperatures this high will cause overheating and heat stroke, which will most likely lead to death.

Limit Exercise and Outdoor Activities on Hot Days

Cats and dogs love to play outside during the summer and allowing them to get out and have exercise is healthy for them. On hot days, this can become rather dangerous for our pets. To protect our pets from the dangers of overheating on hot days, it’s best to take your dog for runs and walks in the morning or evening hours when the temperatures are cooler.

You should also avoid walking your dogs on hot asphalt or any other surface which has the potential to burn their paws. If you take your dog for a run or walk during a hot summer day be sure to bring plenty of water and allow them time to cool down afterward in order for them to get their body temperatures back to normal.

Don’t Shave Your Pets

Some of the more eccentric pet owners have been experimenting with shaving their pets to prepare for the summer. Though it may seem like this is a good way to help them stay cool, it is not true., It’s one thing to make sure your pet is well-groomed and looking nice, but shaving them completely leaves their skin more exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.

Dogs and cats need their furry coats because it provides them with an extra layer of protection. Instead of shaving your pets apply a little pet-friendly sunscreen to their ears and nose before taking them out.

Watch out for Bugs and Other Pests

Dogs and cats are curious animals and, though they eventually learn to avoid certain plants and insects, it may take them a few times to learn. These types of situations are hard to avoid as you can’t have your eyes on your pets at every waking moment. You can though be on the lookout for dangerous bugs by knowing what to look for.

For example, after taking a walk with your dog make sure you give them a good brushing to make sure they didn’t bring any ticks or other insects back home with them. The same goes for cats. Ticks and fleas love the heat and they can cause serious damage to your pets if not taken care of immediately. This is true if your animal friend happens to be allergic to these pests. Not only will a hearty batch of fleas harm your dog or cat but your entire home will also be susceptible to infestation.

Ticks are also harmful to pets when not treated right away. They are well-known carriers of Lyme disease and other blood diseases which can not only make your pet feel miserable but also can be transmitted to you or your family.

Other bugs and pests to be wary of are bees, wasps, hornets, spiders, and snakes. Again, it will be difficult to avoid run-ins with these nasty critters, but you can lessen the odds by looking around your yard for hives, ant hills, and other signs of insect life before letting your pets out.

Fireworks, Fertilizers and Swimming Pools

Some other things to consider are fireworks, fertilizers, and swimming pools. Fireworks and pets don’t get along. When you expect a fireworks display in or around your neighborhood make sure your pets are in a safe area. Not only can fireworks damage your pet’s hearing, but they can also ignite their fur and hurt their eyesight. All this, without even mentioning that fireworks can give your pet a serious fright!

Swimming pools are a great way to get your dog a little exercise and cool them down, but when left unattended bad things can happen. Always watch your dog when they are swimming and do your best to make sure they aren’t gulping down the chemically-altered water as this can make them sick.

Last, make sure you keep your pets indoors after applying any kind of fertilizer or other types of lawn chemical. These can penetrate a dog or cat’s skin and cause many health problems.

Be sure to keep your local animal hospital’s phone number on hand. A pet emergency can strike at any time and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Appropriate veterinary care such as vaccinations and prompt treatment in case of an unforeseen incident will ensure both you and your pet have a fun and healthy summer season!

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