Hot Summers and Your Pet
Summer is one of my favorite times of the year: lots of sun, the pools are open, longer days to enjoy, baseball season, no school zones on my way to work…I could go on. And while I really enjoy the summer, I am not so sure that my pets enjoy it as much as I do. Here are 5 ways to make your pet more comfortable this time of year!
In the south, this is the biggest problem our pets face. Heat stroke is a very common, often fatal occurrence in the summer. The saddest thing about a pet dying from heat stroke is that it is completely preventable! Consider the temperature of the concrete that your pet may be walking on. If it feels too hot for your bare feet, it may be too hot
for theirs! While pets do have thicker pads on their feet, they are still susceptible to burns so take care!
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos oh my! Tiny bugs can cause huge problems for pets in the summer. Other than being just plain gross, these bugs can carry harmful diseases and be very troublesome for our pets. The longer days, more activities outside, and life cycles of these pests all increase the exposure our pets have during the summer months.
- Fleas are the number one allergen to our pets. One flea can cause a significant allergic reaction leading to extreme itching, skin infections, and lots of discomfort! Fleas also carry a common worm called a tapeworm that your pet may get after ingesting a flea.
- Ticks harbor many serious illnesses that can affect people as well as pets. In addition to Lyme disease, ticks also carry ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and others. All of these diseases can cause serious illness and there is no easy way to know which tick is carrying which disease. Also, some ticks carry multiple diseases!
- Mosquitos are a year-round problem in Texas, but the increased activity in the morning (in order to avoid higher temperatures), may actually increase our pet’s exposure to them. Mosquitos carry the immature form of the heartworm in them. When they bite your dog or cat, they inject the heartworm into your pet’s blood stream. Heartworms cause serious illness in both dogs and cats, however, like many of these diseases, it is a preventable illness! To learn more about heartworm disease and how to protect your pet visit our heartworm prevention page.
Before you try to put your pet in an oversized hamster ball to enjoy the outdoors, know this: your veterinarian has the safest, most effective ways to prevent all of these bugs from ruining your summer fun! Talk to your veterinarian about ways to protect your pet this summer from these pesky pests and get out there to enjoy the summer!
Change in Routine
Dogs and cats are creatures of habit. They love and thrive on routine. So, while you may think they enjoy having more people around and more things going on during the day, some pets can often struggle with anxiety or fear with all the change and increase in activity. Also, more people travel during the summer, so a stay at a boarding facility is another change that your pet may be asked to deal with. Talk to your veterinarian about ways to minimize these stressors. Keeping as close to your regular routine as possible, considering a pet sitter instead of a boarding facility, and learning to recognize signs of stress, anxiety and fear in your pet can all help decrease the effects significant changes in routine can have on pets.
I love pools, but I can swim. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are great swimmers! Just like with human children, pools can be extremely dangerous for pets if they are not monitored closely. Even dogs that are the best swimmers will need to take breaks to avoid exhaustion and potential drowning. Be honest about assessing your pet’s affinity for and ability to swim in different types of situations. While some pets may do okay in the pool, the waves of the ocean or the running water of a river may be too much. Even dogs that are good swimmers may panic when placed in different situations. Consider life vests whenever you are boating, and if you are unable to keep a close eye on your pet while they are swimming, consider keeping them inside until you can devote more time to supervision.
Summer is a great time of year! Just remember that your pet may have a different take on the longer days, pools, new people and places, and outdoor activities than you, and use these tips to keep your pet happy and healthy this summer!
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