As summer comes into full swing, there are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about your pet and this fun-filled season. Many pets will be excited for the warmer weather and all the excitement it brings, but they need you to be well-informed on pet safety during the summer months.
In case you need a refresher, Petland has assembled this list of five common summer health concerns that you can learn about in order to be proactive in protecting your pet.
1. Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are prevalent in warmer climates, which is why they are of higher concern during the summer months although they are a possibility year-round.
As you take your dogs out on that hike or outdoor run, be sure to follow-up with a check below their fur coats before letting them back into your home. Some of the most common places for ticks include under or inside their legs, on their feet or between toes, or under their collar. Ticks like to live in tall grasses, so it is especially important that you check your pet’s legs after walking through any high grassy areas.
Keep a flea comb on hand to run through your pet’s fur regularly, especially if they are going outside and exploring frequently.
Additionally, you should take the important precautionary measure to protect your dogs and cats from these pests. Flea and tick prevention should be administered year-round to your pets no matter what the weather or season is. This should help limit the number of fleas and ticks that latch on or pass along anything harmful to your pet.
Dogs and cats actually have a slightly higher average body temperature than humans do. Pets average around 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and heatstroke happens when their temperature rises above 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer weather presents the high risk of pets overheating in hot temperatures.
Dogs are too often locked alone in cars throughout the summer months. Cars heat up quickly in the sun and heat, and even just a short errand can be too long to leave your pet, especially if it is a small dog or cat. It is also worth noting that cracking your windows when you leave is not enough to make a noticeable difference. Never leave your pet in a hot car—heatstroke can and will set in quicker than you think.
Another way to prevent heatstroke is to be mindful of your pet’s outdoor environment. If your pet is staying outside for any length of time, it is crucial to provide ample shade and fresh water so they can stay as cool as possible. If you are able to safely provide a fan, your furry friend would appreciate this as well.
3. Insect Bites and Stings
Just as summer brings about the annoyance and concern of bug bites and stings to humans, it is important to remember that our pets explore the same outdoor environment we do and are presented with the same risks.
If you think your pet has been stung or bit by an insect, do your best to treat them quickly to cut down on the stress and possible reaction your pet may endure.
If your pet is outside and they begin whining for no apparent reason, accompanied by either a hot area of skin, redness, swelling or they are scratching a specific area excessively, they might be telling you they have a bite or sting.
Look for a stinger in the area first. If the area is swollen, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Do not use any over-the-counter medications without consulting your vet first. Bites and stings are not typically a major issue with pets, but each pet will react differently, especially if they happen to be allergic to a specific insect bite.
While your pets can endure a cut year-round, summer brings the opportunity to travel and be more active with your pet. It is important that you know where your pet likes to explore at home and that you keep a close watch on them when you are visiting somewhere else.
Check your home for any exposed sharp objects in areas that your pets might be around. For example, check for loose wires sticking out of a fence or gate that they may crawl under or jump over.
If your pet does experience a cut or scrape, be sure to call your vet for advice or an urgent appointment. You can always begin cleaning the wound with warm water to extract any debris from the wound. If the wound is bleeding heavily, use a clean compress to apply pressure over the wound to clot the blood.
Dehydration of your pet can become very dangerous in a short period of time. It is important to ensure your pet drinks a healthy amount of water and make sure you are familiar with the signs of dehydration.
Excessive panting, a poor appetite, a loss of skin elasticity, and a dry nose are all signs of dehydration. If your pet is displaying these signs, try and coax them into drinking cool, fresh water. If they are vomiting from dehydration, or if they could have also suffered from a heatstroke, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately.
If your pet is one who does not like to consume as much water as they should, you may consider adding bone broth to the water for flavor or providing ice chips for them to munch on.
While dehydration can come from a lack of ample water intake, especially in the heat, it could also be caused by recent diarrhea or vomiting. These actions can force out fluids quicker than they are being replaced, causing dehydration.
There are many concerns to be familiar with when it comes to your pet and the summer season. Become familiar with these five, but do not let them keep you from enjoying summer with your pet! Summer brings endless opportunities for your four-legged friend to get ample exercise and spend time with their favorite human!