Weathering the Summertime with Your Pets

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Posted by Angela Klein on 6/5/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

Weathering the Good Ol’ Summertime with Your Pets

As spring turns to summer, dogs and cats everywhere are beginning to feel the heat! To help you and your pets get through the summer, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to keep your four-legged friends healthy and happy.

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again. Never, never, never leave your pet in the car, even for just a few minutes. Temperatures in cars can reach 120 degrees quickly when the weather is warm. Because dogs and cats don’t perspire and can only release heat through their paw pads and by panting, pets left in hot cars are at risk for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage or death.

Another temptation to avoid is putting dogs in the back of pick-up trucks. Flying debris, accidents or even sudden turns or stops all pose threats to dogs left in this vulnerable position. Keep your dog inside or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck.

Plant food, fertilizer and insecticide are all common during the summer but pose another hazard to pets. Be sure to read the directions carefully and keep your pets away from fertilized areas and especially away from bags of fertilizer, insecticide and plant food, which can be fatal if ingested. Watch out, too, for the 700+ varieties of plants that can produce physiologically active or toxic substances that are harmful to your pets.

Check with your veterinarian to see if your pets should be taking heartworm prevention medication. Transmitted by mosquitoes, heartworm disease can be fatal in both dogs and cats.

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Other quick reminders for a stress-free summer:

Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets at all times.

Make early preparations for vacation travel whether leaving your pet at home or bringing them with you.

Use flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian.

Limit exercise for older dogs and dogs with thick coats to early morning hours to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and stroke.

Do your pets a favor and remember that loud events, such as the 4th of July and music concerts, can be stressful for pets.

If your pet starts showing signs of heat exhaustion and/or stroke – heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue – immediately work to lower his body temperature by applying cool, not cold, water over his body, cold towels or ice packs to your pet’s head, neck and chest only and let him lick ice cubes or drink small amounts of water. Heat exhaustion and stroke can be fatal to your pet, so always remember to check with your veterinarian and when in doubt, visit a hospital immediately.

Have a safe and happy summer!

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