Summer Hazards for Cats and Dogs
This summer know the risks and be prepared for summer with your pets. Summer hazards include heat stroke, insects, and bacterial infections. This article will detail some common dangers, as well as precautions you can take to keep your beloved pet healthy all summer long.
Summer Heat Is Dangerous For Animals
If your pets live in your backyard, or have access to it, make sure there is shade available and unlimited access to water.
Take your dog on walks or runs during the cooler times of the day —early morning and evening. Avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt which can burn the paw pads.
Overweight And Short-Nosed Dogs Are Extra Sensitive To Heat
Overweight dogs have a difficult time cooling their bodies, and are more prone to heat stroke than dogs within a healthy body weight.
Short nosed dogs (Brachycephalic) such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, and French Bulldogs are more prone to heat stroke because their nasal passages are shorter, more prone to inflammation and this limits their ability to breathe. They start to pant to cool themselves down, lose moisture due to evaporation, and this leads to dehydration. Always bring extra fresh water and take frequent breaks.
Cars Are Summer Death Traps
You’ve probably heard advice to crack your windows whenever you have a pet inside. It’s better to just leave your pet home when doing errands during the summer. The temperature inside the car can go from 70 degrees to 89 degrees in 10 minutes on a hot summer day. After 30 minutes, the temperature can reach 104 degrees in 30 minutes. Even in the shade or with windows cracked, it can get deadly hot inside.
Parasites And Infections Are More Common During Summer
Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms are more prevalent in the summer. Keep your dog free of parasites with preventatives such as Sentinel, Interceptor, Revolution, and Bravecto. Cats should be on Revolution.
Don’t Let Your Dog Drink Water in Nature
Ticks, fleas, and parasites aren’t the only bugs you need to protect against. Bacterial infections tend to be more common in summer as dogs lap up whatever water is available.
Stagnant water — like that found in a gutter or street puddle — can result in Giardia infection which can lead to diarrhea, dehydration, and costly veterinary care.
More Bacterial Danger
Streams, creeks, and ponds can also pose a danger to pets. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can lead to kidney and liver failure. This disease is spread through the urine of rats and wild animals.
What’s more: Both Giardia and leptospirosis are zoonotic, meaning you (and other humans) can catch the infection from your pet.
Pet Friendly Lawn Care
Be sure that the plants in your yard and garden are safe for pets. Lilies are toxic to cats; Azaleas are dangerous to dogs; Oleander is deadly to just about everyone.
Also, be careful and read instructions on lawn fertilizers to assess their safety for animals. Do not use cocoa mulch. This contains the same toxin as chocolate and can be toxic if ingested.
EMRVC wants you to have a safe, happy summer with your pets. If your dog or cat has been exposed to any of the dangers outlined in this post, contact us immediately!
– Dr. Anne Hicks
Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.