Summer is here in Columbus GA. It’s time to think about summer safety for our four-legged family members. Here are 7 ways to safeguard your pets during the hot summer months.
1. Cover the basics – Secure an up-to-date tag on your pet’s collar, and make sure to use a leash when you head outdoors. Consult us at Double Churches Animal Clinic for flea and tick control options, and always keep your pet’s vaccinations current.
2. Be wary around water – Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so watch your pup when you are near the pool, beach, or lake. On trips to the ocean, make sure your pets don’t drink the salt water – it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Also, watch the currents. The best paddling dog can struggle against a mean undertow.
3. Keep cool – Schedule walks in the early morning or evening; dog paws hate hot pavement. You can also make dog exercise sessions safe by stopping for drinks of fresh water and finding shady spots for necessary panting breaks. Some pet owners also help prevent overheating with short fur shaves for cats and dogs in the summer. We offer body clips for our patients at Double Churches Animal Clinic to help keep them cool!
4. Watch for warning signs – Heat stroke is an issue for pets, too. Be on the lookout for early symptoms; excessive panting and drooling, bright red gums, weakness, and balance problems. As the condition worsens, pets may experience labored breathing, lethargy, and even seizures. If you see any of the above signs, get your pet to its veterinarian immediately. ** Some breeds are more susceptible to heat related issues than others. “Brachycephalic” breeds such as English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs can have life-threatening swelling in their airways that is induced by excessive panting due to heat.**
5. Safely see the sights – Taking your pets for a ride in the car or minivan?? NEVER leave them inside — windows up or down– on hot days. Keep dogs’ heads in the car while driving; inner ear damage, lung infections and injury happen when man’s best friend sticks his head out the window. Buckle your dog with a harness or seat belt for dogs, or a crate or carrier secured with a seat belt. Never let dogs ride in the back of trucks. A crate in the truck bed keeps dogs from bouncing out in an accident or being hit with debris from the road.
6. Party with prudence – Be wary of what your dogs and cats can get into when you celebrate. Chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions can be harmful to dogs and cats. Any change in diet, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. Snatching one of those ribs from the picnic table can lead to potentially life threatening illness such as pancreatitis as well as the risk for gi obstruction from the bones. Alcohol is also a no-no for dogs and cats. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. If your pets get anxious or fearful around fireworks or big crowds, keep them away from the sparklers and concerts. Stay tuned for more information specific to Fourth of July safety!
7. Protect against pests and poisons – Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and more seem to be everywhere in the summer. Consult with us at Double Churches Animal Clinic for advice on the best pest preventatives to use for you and your pets’ lifestyle. Also, keep your pets off areas sprayed with chemicals or insecticides. Always store fertilizers and other poisonous substances out of their reach.
Call Double Churches Animal Clinic with any questions you have about summer safety or your pet!