Seasonal Pet Health Tips
Pets can be affected by the change of seasons and weather just as much as people can, and just like people, their health needs to be taken into consideration. This is particularly important during the winter and summer months, when temperatures are extreme and their bodies will need to do the most adjusting.
Summer Health Tips for your Pet
1. Never leave your pet in the car.
During the summer, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to over 120°F, even if you have the windows rolled down. Remember, your pet is covered in fur. Days that may seem mild to you may be quite uncomfortable for your pet.
2. Always provide fresh, cool water, whether you have an indoor or outdoor pet.
If you and your pet are taking part in outdoor activities or traveling, make sure to bring some water with you. Proper hydration is essential to keep your pet’s body temperature at a safe level; letting your pet go without water can lead to heat stroke.
3. Beware humidity and overheating.
Humidity makes it difficult for pets to effectively rid themselves of excess body heat. While panting helps, on particularly hot and humid days, pets can easily become overheated, particularly those already at risk:
- Elderly and very young pets
- Pets with thick or dark fur
- Dogs with snub noses (Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, etc)
- Overweight pets
- Pets with poor circulation or cardiac disease
- Ill Pets
4. Make sure your pet isn’t overexerted.
Exercise is important and helps your pet stay cool, but overdoing it on a hot day may cause overheating. Keep walks at a gentle pace, provide water, and stop if your pet is panting or seems exhausted.
5. Keep your pet leashed when you take them out.
This will help prevent your pet from becoming lost, running into traffic, fighting with other animals, or eating and drinking anything that may be harmful to them. While it is normally dogs that are leashed, cats can also be trained.
6. If you let your pet run around your yard unsupervised, be sure that it’s enclosed and that any hazards such as the road or swimming pool are not accessible to your pet.
Try to avoid tying your dog to a tree as chains and ropes tend to get tangled and your pet may wind up trapped in direct sunlight. Provide ample shade and shelter from the sun, as well as a bowl of fresh water. No pet should be kept outside for long on a hot day and if the shade disappears or your pet appears exhausted or uncomfortable, bring your pet inside.
7. Check your pet for parasites such as fleas and ticks.
Fleas can cause various medical problems for your pet, including flea allergy dermatitis, tapeworms, and secondary skin irritations. Your pet may also experience hair loss from scratching. Ticks have been known to carry disease, the most common being Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis. Fortunately, there are a few preventative measures you can take to keep your pet flea and tick free. Talk with your veterinarian to find the treatment that is best for your pet.
8. Heat Stroke:
Heat stroke is a serious condition that occurs when your pet is no longer able to regulate their body temperature within safe limits. In other words, your pet has become overheated and cannot get rid of the heat fast enough. Symptoms of heat stroke:
- rapid panting and increased heart rate
- discolored gums (dull grey or pink)
- bright red tongue
- dizziness or disorientation
- vomiting – sometimes with blood
If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, call your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately! Pets can recover from moderate heat stroke within an hour when given proper veterinary care, while pets with severe cases of heat stroke can die if not given immediate attention. Prior to taking your pet to the veterinarian, there are some things you can do:
- Call your veterinarian or emergency clinic.
- Lower your pet’s body temperature by wetting him/her with cool (not very cold) water, and use a fan to increase air movement around your pet. For small dogs, use lukewarm water.
- Check the rectal temperature every 5 minutes.
- Once the rectal temperature reaches 103°F, stop cooling and dry your pet thoroughly.
Ask Us a Question
If you have any basic questions, that these tips do not answer, please feel free to send us a message and we can email you back.