Baku the Dream Eater

Baku the Dream Eater
Baku (source: the noominarium)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Summer Health Risks for Your Pet

     Summer is fast approaching; time for fun in the sun with your best friend. Swimming, hiking, and going to the beach might be great times for humans, but your pets have new health risks when the weather gets warm. Make sure you follow these safety tips to keep your pet happy and healthy through the warmer months.

Parasite protection
     The warm weather wakes up insects and other critters, and they love to feed on your pet. Make sure your pet is consistently on flea and tick prevention, as well as heartworm medicine. Fleas and ticks carry diseases that can incapacitate or kill your pet, and mosquitoes carry heartworm, which is deadly as well. Visit your local veterinarian to pick up the best preventatives for your dog or cat.

Water, water, everywhere     Not all dogs love water, and most cats really don’t like it. If your dog is interested in playing in the water (pool, river, lake, etc) make sure you supervise your pets. It’s easy for a pet to be swept away by currents, or get too tired while swimming in deep water. Almost any pet supply stores sell life jackets for your pet, in case you find yourself bringing Fido on a boat or to the pool.

Heat Waves
     Some pets, especially dogs with short snouts (known as brachycephalic dogs) have a very low tolerance for heat, and can become incapacitated quickly due to heatstroke. When you have your pet outside, be sure to provide adequate shelter/shade and cool drinking water. Dogs don’t sweat through their skin like humans do, but dissipate heat through panting and sweating from the bottoms of their feet. Watch for signs of heatstroke such as excessive panting, dark red or tacky gums, inability to get up, dizziness. If you see these symptoms in your pet, get them to a veterinarian immediately. Also, short haired dogs can get sunburn, so limit your pet’s exposure to the sun to avoid it.

No Parking
     Everyone has read horrific stories of pets being left in cars in the summer, and dying of heatstroke, even if they’re only left in the car for a few minutes.. The temperature in your car rises very quickly when the air conditioning isn’t on, even if you park in the shade and leave windows partially open. If the outside temperature is higher than 70, your car can become a 115 degree furnace in less than a half hour! Honestly, the best choice is to leave your pet at home if you have to go out shopping.

Thunderstorm Safety
     Many dogs are afraid of thunder, lightning, and wind from summer thunderstorms. Dogs and cats who panic during storms can hurt themselves and even destroy their surroundings. Don’t leave your cat on a balcony during a thunderstorm, nor your dog in the yard. If they bolt, they can become lost or injured without even realizing it. Keep all pets inside when you hear the thunder or see lightning, and provide distraction if possible, to keep them occupied. You may also want to ask your veterinarian for a possible sedative if your pet is especially destructive or nervous. My own dog has always been afraid during thunderstorms, and I've found something called a “Thundershirt” ( which works very well to help alleviate his anxiety.

Killer Pests
     To make your lawn beautiful, you might be using chemicals that can be dangerous to your pets. Fertilizer, mulch, and weed killer can be fatal if eaten or swallowed by your pet. Read the labels on your gardening products, or talk your local garden store to find pet-friendly lawn and garden ingredients.
     Certain flowers, vegetables and other decorative plants can be poisonous for your dog or cat. With some help from your local garden store and your vet, you can create a wonderful garden for both you and your four legged friends.
Winston (owned by Melanie Graham)