Tag Archives: summer health

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

It’s the time of year when heat can be extremely dangerous for everyone, especially pets. Here are some quick tips to help keep your pets safe and healthy this summer.

Beware of Swimming Pools: The temptation of sparkling water can be deadly for children and animals, so it’s always critical to keep a close eye on everyone around water. Make sure to pool-proof your pets by teaching them how to swim to the stairs or find the edge. Childproof fencing is a must if you have small children, but can also help keep pets safer, too.

Protect the Paws: If you can’t stand on the sidewalk comfortably in bare feet, then neither can your pet! During summer months, take walks early in the morning when it’s cooler, or later in the evening after the cement has had time to cool down. There are also wonderful protective pet shoe options for pets of all sizes. While pets will need to adjust to the strange sensation of not only wearing shoes, but also walking in them, they can help prevent severe burns on tender paws and pads that will require veterinary care.

Remember the Sunscreen: Even pets can get sunburned or develop skin cancer, so it’s important to take some precautions. Breeds like Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers are very vulnerable to sunburn and possible skin cancers. Any cats that have white ears, eyelids and noses should be protected as well. Severe burns may also cause skin infections. Look for pet safe products that contain NO ZINC OXIDE (a common ingredient in many sunscreens) – it’s toxic to animals.

Barbecue Grill Safety: There’s nothing quite so summery-delicious as food cooked outdoors on the grill, but remember your pets will be sniffing around with interest, too! Make sure they’re kept at a safe distance so they don’t get burned or worse, knock over the grill. Be careful of scraps and trash – they can cause some serious gastrointestinal problems in pets. Watch out for meat drippings as well, as your pet could burn their mouth, or develop vomiting, diarrhea or pancreatitis. Don’t give your pet cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause damage to the stomach and intestines, or even death.

Heat Stroke in Pets: Know the Warning Signs

heat strokeHeat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people. Hyperthermia occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal (103°F), putting them in danger of multiple organ failure or death. Early recognition and treatment of heat stroke improves your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery.

SYMPTOMS

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/ black, tarry stools
  • Changes in mental status (ie, confusion)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness / Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

TREATMENT: At the first sign of overheating, it’s important to take steps to gradually cool your pet down. Do NOT use ice or extremely cold water as it can cause shock and other undesirable reactions. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cool, wet towels and use a fan for convection cooling.  Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on foot pads, groin, and under the forelegs. When their temperature reaches 103° F, stop cooling to avoid dropping below normal body temperature, then seek veterinary care.