Oh the dog days of summer. What’s not to like about summer? Vacations, cookouts, swimming—can it get any better than that? Wait a dog gone minute though. These fun times can be hazardous to your pets, so care must be taken to make sure that they don’t succumb to the dangers that can be lurking. Accidents can happen almost anytime and anyplace so it is important to be aware of how to prevent them from happening. These can include but not be limited to heat stroke, swimming pools, venomous pests, campouts, bbq and other foods just to name a few. So let’s cover a few dangers to avoid and try to prevent.
The summer heat can be dangerous to our pets. Dogs are covered with hair, have very few sweat glands, and some breeds have shortened noses that make it tough to keep cool in the summer. So the easiest way to beat the heat is to adjust your walking schedule to the morning hours when it is cooler out. Some dogs may do well with having their haircoat shaved, however breeds like the Husky have a haircoat that also helps keep them cool in the summer.
The heat will also warm up the inside of your car, so if it is above 65 degrees either leave your pet at home or take it inside with you when you leave the vehicle.
Sunburn can also cause some problems, so it may be important to put sunscreen on the pets ears and bare skin to prevent this.
What is a better way to beat the heat than swim in a swimming pool? It is great and it also is a good way for your dog to get exercise. Floatation devices are available to assist the pets that are not strong swimmers. But, do not leave them unsupervised. It is important that they be taught how to exit the pool safely before they tire. Also having fresh water for them to cool off with and to remove the chlorine, salt and bacteria that can be harmful to them is beneficial. So keep a bowl handy by the pool.
Almost everyone celebrates the Fourth of July with fireworks. Dogs tend to not like loud noises and can be scared easily. The best advice would be to leave your pets at home inside and away from the flash of the fireworks.
Some summer evenings are spent socializing with friends and barbecuing. We all like them, and even our pets are hoping for a few table scraps. A little of this and a little of that can be bad for pets—and not just their waistlines. Some surprising foods like grapes, onions, garlic and raisins, can be toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities and should stay off their menu. Other barbecue staples like corn on the cob, bones, fruit with pits, skewers or ice cream can be dangerous to our four-legged family members. It may be helpful to talk to guests and children before summer parties and politely remind them that table food could be detrimental to the health of your pet.
Fleas & Ticks
While our the heat puts a strain on our pets, fleas and ticks thrive during this time. They can cause disease and carry other parasites that are detrimental to the health of our pets. Just like humans, pets can have allergic reactions to insect and spider bites. By grooming your pet frequently, you can check for the presence of the pests, hot spots, and other skin problems that can be caused by these pests. There are some very good flea and tick medications out there to prevent the problems before they start, so talk with your veterinarian to see what they would suggest. You can also order directly from our store.
Heartworms are carried by mosquitos, and the summer months are when mosquitos thrive and pose the greatest threat to your pet. The heartworms can be very dangerous to the health of your pet. It is best to have your pet on a medication to prevent your pet from contracting the painful disease. So ask your veterinarian for their recommendations.
These dangers may sound scary, but a little preparation and watchful eye is all you need to take the heat off your summer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868, or contact us here.
Did you know that the third week of March is designated National Poison Prevention Week? The Pet Poison Helpline wants everyone to remember the four-legged members of your family. About 90% of the calls to the helpline involve dogs because they tend to be more curious, unpredictable, and indifferent to eating just about anything.
Many products that are kept around your house can be toxic to your pet, so it is important to keep the Pet Poison Helpline number to contact if needed. That number is 1-800-213-6680. If an emergency occurs, they are available to help and assist the frantic owner.
As with almost everything else, prevention is best, so here are some pointers to help prevent poisoning. By taking note, this can reduce the exposure to poisons.
- Never give your pet any medications unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian. Tylenol is a common medication to help relieve your headache, but it can be deadly to your pet. As little as one 500mg tablet can kill a cat.
- If you use flea control, always read the label directions for proper application. Never put a flea control product on your cat that is for a dog or vice versa. Permethrin is a product in flea controls that is extremely toxic to cats. As a matter of fact, a few drops can potentially be life-threatening.
- Be aware of some houseplants. They may be pretty, but they can also be toxic to eat or chew on. This is not a problem in human adults, but pets and children love to explore, chew and taste. Plants like oleander, rhododendrom, azaela and yews can affect the heart and be cardiotoxic. Rhubarb can cause kidney damage and some mushrooms can cause liver damage.
- While essential to a car’s cooling system, antifreeze can be fatal to cats and dogs. It is sweet-tasting and as little as one lick can be deadly. It is important to sweep up all spills and keep it locked away from pets. It may be more expensive, but a safe antifreeze alternative could prevent accidental exposure.
- If you apply weed killer or insecticide to your lawn or fertilize your plants or garden, remember to follow label directions for proper applications and do not allow pets access to these areas until the amount of time listed on the label by the manufacturer has passed ant the product has dried thoroughly. Your pet could become exposed by licking its’ paws after walking through treated areas when wet or before access should be allowed.
- Alway store lawn and garden products in areas that are inaccessible to animals such as locked storage sheds or garages. These products can include rodenticides, slug and snail baits, paint, oil and gasoline that are potentially dangerous chemicals to name a few. Rat poisons are a bait to attract the rodent, and this works on rodents as well as pets. Even if it is hidden or seemingly out of your pet’s reach, determined pets may be creative to reach the bait. Also, rodents that have died from the poison and are ingested by pets pose a risk.
- Meat and food scraps mixed with discarded household cleaner containers and other trash are a recipe for disaster on many levels! Even “good pets” who usually don’t get into garbage may get an inclination due to what they smell or if they are bored and hungry. It is important to protect your pets from getting into the trash by securing all your garbage cans with tamper-proof lids. For extra protection, you may want to keep them safely out of reach in the cupboard or shed.
- If you are unsure about proper usage of any product, please call the manufacturer and/or your veterinarian for instructions. It is also helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide or Syrup of Ipecac on hand to induce vomiting if instructed by your veterinarian.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous substance, immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline. Again their number is 1-800-213-6680. In most instances, early detection and prompt treatment may help reduce the risk of developing clinical signs or increase the chances of a successful recovery if signs are present. It will help to note what you think your pet has eaten, when he ingested the substance in question and any problems he is experiencing.