We all know that the heat of the summer can be especially hard for our fur-coated friends. There are other perils that plague your pets this time of year as well.
BEAT THE HEAT
- Never, ever leave your pet in the car.
- Make sure your pet has unlimited access to fresh water.
- Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside. Keep your cats indoors.
- Take walks during the cooler hours of the day, early morning or after dark.
- When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces, especially asphalt, because it can burn your pet’s paws. If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off.
Keep your dog free of external parasites like fleas and ticks as well as internal parasites, specifically heartworms.
“Heartworms can cause a serious disease that results in organ damage and even death in pets,” Tulsa SPCA shelter vet Megan Buford said. “It is caused by a parasitic worm spread through mosquito bites. It is vital that your pet gets monthly heartworm prevention all year long.”
Consult with your veterinarian, or make a Minor Needs appointment at the Tulsa SPCA low-cost veterinary clinic, and keep your pet on monthly preventatives.
“We’ve seen lots of ticks already this summer,” Dr. Buford said. “Every dog and cat in this part of Oklahoma should be on a reliable flea and tick preventative, year-round.”
Dogs (not usually cats!) love water and it’s important to keep them safe. If you’ve never been in the water with your dog, start slowly.
- Choose a quiet, shallow spot in the water.
- Keep your dog on a leash while he learns.
- Get into the water with him.
- Start at the edge of the water, and stay as long as he enjoys it.
- If he doesn’t want to go, don’t force him in – especially if it’s a deep spot.
- When your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs to show him how to float.
At the Lake
- Get your dog a life jacket, especially if you take him out on a boat or a dock.
- Steer clear of bodies of water with blue-green algae. It can make your dog ill.
- Check the current of a river or a creek. Make sure it isn’t too strong to let your dog swim.
- Keep your pal away from fishing gear. Sharp hooks and barbs can hurt him.
In the Pool
- Put a fence around your pool to keep your pets safe when it isn’t time to swim.
- Keep a sturdy cover over the pool when you aren’t using it. It should be made of a material that lets rainwater drain through. Pets can drown in puddles on top of pool covers.
- Teach your dog how to get in and out of the pool. Make sure there are steps or a ramp he can use to climb out.
- Rinse your dog off after he’s been in any type of water. Chlorine, algae and pollution can irritate or damage his skin and fur.
- Dry your dog’s ears completely to prevent an infection. Try an ear cleaner that has a drying agent in it.
- Learn canine CPR. Mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions could save a dog’s life in an emergency.
- Never leave your dog alone in the water.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
As important as it is to avoid dehydration, there are dangers to an overabundance of water in a dog’s system. Water intoxication can come on suddenly, and the outcome can be fatal.
In dogs, excessive water intake can occur when swimming, diving, or water-retrieving. Even play-biting the stream of water from a garden hose or sprinkler can overload a dog’s system and lead to water intoxication.
Symptoms of water intoxication include:
- loss of coordination (including stumbling, falling, or staggering)
- pale gums
- dilated pupils
- glazed eyes
If you suspect that your dog has water intoxication, get to a vet or emergency vet clinic immediately.