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Summer Conditions Pose Extreme Risks for Pets

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by

A Dachshund wearing a life jacket swims in a pool. Bodies of water, including swimming pools, can pose risks for pets.

Pets Best urges pet owners to protect animals against heat stroke, hiking injuries and other dangers

BOISE, Idaho – With dogs and cats often exposed to a wide range of elements during the hot summer months, Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC (Pets Best), seeks to raise awareness about common summertime hazards in an effort to help pet owners protect their four-legged family members from painful and potentially deadly mishaps.

Each summer, Pets Best, a leading U.S. pet insurance agency based in Boise, Idaho, processes a significant number of insurance claims related to a variety of veterinary emergencies.

“Dogs and cats are vulnerable to many of the same summertime risks as humans, including heat stroke and accidents from adventuring outdoors,” said Dr. Jack Stephens, president and founder of Pets Best. “Emergencies can strike at any time, which is why it is important for pet owners to consider the many benefits of obtaining health insurance for their pets. By offering financial protection against expensive veterinary procedures, pet insurance provides peace of mind to a growing number of pet parents across the nation.”

In an effort to help keep dogs and cats safe and healthy this summer, Pets Best has compiled the following list of five summertime hazards for pets.

1. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when body temperatures rise to dangerous levels and pets are unable to accommodate the excessive heat, leading to organ dysfunction and death in some cases.

Short-nosed breeds have the highest risk of suffering from heat stroke. This includes English bulldogs, pugs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers and Persian cats. Long-haired pets such as Great Pyrenees, chows, Alaskan malamutes and other cold-weather breeds are also at a high risk for overheating.

To prevent dogs and cats from experiencing heat stroke, pet owners should keep their animals in the shade when outdoors, avoid exercising pets in high temperatures, and provide indoor pets with ventilation and cool water. Pet owners should never leave their animals inside cars as the temperature can reach deadly levels within minutes. Pets should be taken to a veterinarian immediately if they experience symptoms of heat stroke, including lethargy, labored breathing and unresponsiveness.

2. Water Safety


Although many canines are strong swimmers, they should always be closely supervised and wear life jackets when their owners take them for a summer swim. Dogs are vulnerable to many dangers in and around bodies of water, including drowning, being struck by boats, swallowing fishhooks and exposure to Leptospira, a potentially deadly pathogen found within some lakes and ponds.

Pets Best recently processed a claim for an English bulldog puppy named BooBoo who nearly drowned after falling into his owner’s pool. BooBoo was found unconscious on the pool floor, but he recovered after an emergency visit to the veterinarian.

“For dog owners with pools, I always suggest training their dogs to find the shallow end of the pool or the stairs so they can exit the pool safely. This is important regardless of whether you plan to let your dogs swim in the pool,” Dr. Stephens said. “Even dogs that are good swimmers or wearing life jackets can tire quickly and be put in danger if they can’t find their way out of the pool.”

3. Hiking Injuries
Taking pets hiking is a great opportunity for exercise, but it is important to be aware of potential dangers pets face in the wild, including sprained muscles, broken bones and attacks by wild animals.

Pets Best has processed many pet insurance claims for dogs attacked by snakes and other wild animals, including porcupines and skunks. These include claims for a Newfoundland named Josephine who has been attacked by porcupines three separate times, resulting in emergency veterinary examinations and procedures to remove the quills.

To help prevent such injuries during hiking trips, pet owners should keep dogs leashed so they can’t chase wildlife. It is also a good idea to carry a first-aid kit with items including a tourniquet, Neosporin, Benadryl for allergic reactions, a chemical ice pack, tape and bandage material.

4. Burned Paw Pads
The summer sunshine can raise the temperature of asphalt roads to a dangerous degree, even when the temperature outdoors feels pleasant. If the asphalt or sidewalk is too hot for people to walk on barefoot, it is also too hot for dogs and cats.

If pet owners must walk their pets on asphalt during the summer, they should remain in shaded areas. People can also carry their pets to grass or dirt areas, or purchase boots to protect animals’ paw pads from painful blistering.

5. Ear Infections
Ear infections are a common summertime ailment among dogs that swim frequently. These infections are often caused by water entering dogs’ ears while swimming. Pet owners can help prevent this by utilizing an ear cleanser prescribed by a veterinarian to clean and dry a dog’s ears after swimming.

While dogs and cats can experience a broad range of summer-related emergencies, Pets Best offers coverage for a variety of health issues, including all of the conditions above. Pets Best offers a number of pet insurance plans, including the BestBenefit plan, which covers the diagnosis and treatment of hundreds of accidents and illnesses. For pet owners who are more concerned about injuries, the Accident Only Plan covers the treatment of accidents, including examinations, X-rays, hospitalizations and medications. For more information about Pets Best, visit www.petsbest.com.

About Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC
Dr. Jack L. Stephens, president of Pets Best, founded pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981 with a mission to end euthanasia when pet owners couldn’t afford veterinary treatment. Dr. Stephens went on to present the first U.S. pet insurance policy to famous television dog Lassie. Pets Best provides coverage for dogs and cats and is the only veterinarian founded and operated pet insurance agency in the United States. Dr. Stephens leads the Pets Best team with his passion for quality pet care and his expert veterinary knowledge. He is always available to answer questions regarding veterinary medicine, pet health and pet insurance. The Pets Best team is a group of pet lovers who strive to deliver quality customer service and value. Visit www.petsbest.com for more information.

Pet insurance coverage offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company. Independence American Insurance Company is a member of The IHC Group, an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates that has been providing life, health, disability, medical stop-loss and specialty insurance solutions to groups and individuals for over 30 years. For information on The IHC Group, visit: www.ihcgroup.com. Additional insurance services administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC are underwritten by Prime Insurance Company. Some existing business is underwritten by Aetna Insurance Company of Connecticut. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products.

Pets Best is a proud member of the North America Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).

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