Summer is now in full swing for all of us. And it can be a great season for our pets as well … as long as we keep in mind that they are affected by some of the same warm weather challenges as us.
Insect stings and bites are fairly common for people AND pets. The resulting localized pain and swelling can be treated with a cold compress. Should your pet be stung, even if he “looks ok,” it is very important to monitor him for a few hours following the assault. Swelling that interferes with eyesight, joints, a compromised airway and difficulty breathing is a more serious problem that warrants a trip to your veterinarian. A true emergency would be an anaphylactic reaction – a severe allergic response by the animal’s immune system and requires IMMEDIATE veterinary emergency care. When in doubt, call your veterinarian!
Overheating, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke affect dogs as well as people. The very young and the very old are more susceptible, as are overweight pets. Common sense tells us to avoid excessive exercise during the heat of the day. But dogs don’t always have common sense! Always have cool, fresh drinking water available. Keep pets in a cool, comfortable environment and provide shade if they are outdoors. And obviously NEVER leave them inside a parked vehicle even for a few minutes. Heavy panting, gasping for air, dizziness and/or collapse are signs of heat stress and/or heat exhaustion. If you notice any of these signs, move your pet into the shade or a cooler environment and give him cool, not cold water in small amounts. You can cool him down by wetting him with a garden hose or in a bath of cool, not cold water. Contact your veterinarian immediately!
Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other parasites that carry a multitude of diseases will be a big threat this year due to the prolonged wet weather and extremely high heat we’ve been experiencing. While the ticks are taking a hiatus for the month, don’t let your guard down! Fleas can be especially difficult to treat as they hide in carpets, clothing, furniture and anything “warm and fuzzy!” Make sure your pets are on a regular regimen of preventative products. There are many different options available out there but make sure the product you choose is appropriate for your particular pet. The wrong product, at the very least, is ineffective and a waste of money. At the very worst, it could severely affect the health and well-being of your pet. If you are unsure about the safety or effectiveness of any product, please ask your veterinary staff before using it.
Summer should be a carefree time for everyone. Following these helpful hints should make it easier for everyone. Happy Summer!
Mary Jean Calvi, LVT is a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Pawling Animal Clinic. She and her sons raise miniature horses, sheep, chickens, pigs, and steer, as well as dogs, cats, rabbits and birds “rescued” on the job.