Summer presents the wonderful opportunity to enjoy warm weather and fun in the sun with all members of your family, including the four-legged ones. However, this time of year carries certain dangers to your pet’s health that all owners should be aware of. The following are the five biggest health hazards for pets during summer.
5 Summer Health Hazards
You might think that your pet’s fur is enough to protect them from becoming sunburnt, but this is not necessarily the case. Even furry pets have areas where their fur is thin enough to allow their skin to become burnt, such as around the nose’s tip or on the belly. Often the solution is as simple as limiting your pet’s time in the sun. If your pet is particularly prone to sunburn, however, specially-formulated sunscreen is available for dogs; human sunscreen should not be used as it can be toxic to animals.
2. Heat Stroke
You don’t need to leave your pet in a locked car for them to be at risk of heat stroke this summer; playing outdoors in the sun on a hot day can be enough. In particular, some pets such as shorter-nosed dogs are at greater risk for heat stoke due to their reduced cooling efficiency. If you see signs that your pet may have heat stroke such as excessive thirst or heavy panting, bring them into the shade or a cool room immediately and use a fan or wet towels to cool them down.
3. Insects or Other Animals
From ticks and fleas to bees and skunks, summer is filled with potential hazards to your pet presented by other living creatures. Flea and tick prevention is key during these months to help your pet avoid the most common pests. Non-insect threats include snake bites that can lead to skin necrosis as well skunk spray that can irritate the eyes. Most insect and animal injuries can be treated at home, but any facial swelling due to a bee sting or a potentially poisonous snake bite should receive immediate veterinary care.
Like us, our four-legged friends are susceptible to seasonal allergies during the summer. Common symptoms include itchy skin for both dogs and cats as well as the increased occurrence of ear infections in dogs. These ear infections, which can be serious, are treatable with a prescription ear-cleaning solution when used once a month to clean out your dog’s ears. While the solution doesn’t help with the allergies directly, it does help limit ear wax build-up that can make an infection worse.
5. Bacteria or Parasites in Standing Water
Standing pools of water can breed bacteria and parasites that can sicken your pet if they drink the water or simply walk through it. For example, giardiasis is a disease that affects the intestines and causes upset stomach, diarrhea and dehydration; the parasite responsible can be found in stagnant water during warm months.
Similarly, leptospriosis is an infection caused by bacteria that affects a wide range of animals, including dogs and humans, and can lead to kidney or liver damage or failure. To reduce the chance of these illnesses, avoid standing water whenever possible and refresh your pet’s water bowl frequently.
To learn more information, don’t hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care!