With temperatures rising, there are some important considerations to keep your pets happy and healthy. Hot weather, holidays, and parasites can pose hazards to your pets.
Dehydration and overheating or heat stroke can occur quickly when temperatures are high. Never leave your pets in a parked car, even with the windows open. Temperatures inside cars can reach dangerous levels within minutes. When exercising your pet by playing outdoors or taking walks, choose the coolest part of the day – around sunrise or sunset – and try to avoid walking on hot asphalt as it can burn their paw pads. If your dog or cat is mainly outdoors, make sure it has a shaded cool place to rest and keep plenty of fresh water available. Older or overweight pets or those with flat faces can be affected more easily and should be monitored closely in hot weather. If it is extremely hot outside keep your pets indoors to prevent heat-related illness. Signs that your pet may be overheated include increased respiration rate, weakness, drooling, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, stupor, collapse, or seizures. If you notice your pet acting abnormal or having any signs of heat illness, take your pet inside. Then if possible sprinkle or trickle cool water on them, and call or visit your veterinarian right away.
Be cautious during summer holidays like the 4th of July and Memorial Day to make sure your pets stay safe. Do not allow pets to drink alcoholic beverages or eat human food like hot dogs as they can become severely sick. Leave pets indoors while using fireworks or going to fireworks shows. Pets can be very scared from the loud noises and escape from their yard or run away from owners and get lost. Some pets are also very curious about fireworks and can get serious burns or become sick if they ingest any part of a firecracker. Supervise pets when they are around water or pools because not all animals can swim well. If you take your pet on a boat, make sure they wear a life preserver.
Internal and external parasites are another summertime concern. In Missouri, ticks often start showing up on dogs and cats by April and continue throughout the summer and early fall. Flea infestations often begin in early summer but become a major problem in late summer and early fall. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for flea and tick preventatives and be sure to use them according to the label. Never use dog products on cats. If you find a tick on your dog or cat use tweezers or a tissue and your fingernails to grasp the tick as close to the pet’s skin as possible and gently but firmly pull without twisting. If your pet has not been taking heartworm preventatives, see your vet for a heartworm test and a heartworm preventative. Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes and can affect dogs and cats even if they are mainly indoors. It is recommended to keep pets on heartworm prevention year-round in Missouri since the winter weather is unpredictable with warm days even in December.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pets this summer please call our office and we will be happy to assist you. We hope you have a safe, fun summer with your pets.