Yesterday, we addressed the biggest danger that comes to our pets with summer time, heat stroke. But many dangers come with the warmer weather, so learn about them now!
1) Burned Paw Pads: Both cats’ and dogs’ paws are capable of distributing their weights very effectively, but they don’t handle extreme temperatures. The hot sun on asphalt or cement can be like walking on hot coals during the summer. And with all of the summer festivals and parties happening, sometimes chemicals or hazardous objects like glass shards can seriously damage your pet’s paws. Since paws are particularly difficult to treat (since our pets just keep on walking), we recommend immediately seeing your veterinarian if you notice your pet is limping or stumbling. As for prevention, make sure your yard or walking route is clear of those hazardous materials and allow your pet to walk in the grass or in the dirt rather on the hot cement!
2) Ear Infections: If your pet enjoys swimming or water-based activities during the summer (or just really needs a bath), they may be more prone to ear infections. Water in the ear canals can support the growth of bacteria or yeast which cause infection. Watch out for your pet digging at their ears or shaking his or her head as these are both signs of ear infections. To treat ear infections, your veterinarian will need to take a swab of the ear to determine what is causing the ear infection and then provide you with the best treatment plan for the infection. For prevention, ask your veterinarian for an ear cleaner you can use after your pet is exposed to water.
3) Fleas & Ticks: We covered these buggers in last week’s article. Just remember that these bugs may just seem annoying, but the diseases they carry can be life-threatening. Diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be debilitating or even lethal if left untreated. Prevent them with over-the-counter products like Vectra (for cats) or Vectra 3D (for dogs)!
4) Dehydration: Your pet may become dehydrated for a number of reasons-an empty water bowl on a hot day, running and activity under the summer sun, vomiting and diarrhea due to other illnesses, etc. Your pet may be more prone to dehydration due to underlying diseases (such as kidney disease). Signs of dehydration include dry mouth/gums, lack of elasticity of the skin, sunken eyes, and lethargy. If you think your pet is dehydrated, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to confirm that there is not an underlying illness present. To prevent dehydration, provide your pet with clean, fresh water daily (don’t forget to wash the bowl!) and take water with you if you’re taking your pet to the park or an event!
5) Heartworms: We think of summer as mosquito season. While this may result in some pesky mosquito bites for us, mosquitoes can transmit the deadly heartworm parasite to your pet. This parasite travels through the bloodstream and infects your pet’s heart. Treatment in dogs is highly expensive and there is no treatment available for cats. Prevent your pet from catching this deadly disease by using a heartworm preventative like Interceptor. Ask your veterinarian about the best heartworm prevention product for you and your pet!
6) Escape artists: Summer heat means open doors and windows. Even if you have an animal that has never attempted to escape from your home, summer festivities like parades and fireworks can send your pet into a panic and send them flying out of open doors. In order to protect your pet, be aware of ways that your pet may be able to “make a break for it.” Also be sure that all pets, regardless of species, are wearing proper ID tags. Even strictly indoor pets (like cats, ferrets, etc.) can sneak out an open window without your noticing. We also encourage microchipping your pet; it is the only form of permanent identification and dramatically increases your pet’s chances of returning home if lost!
Sandstone Animal Hospital is able to prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of illnesses in both cats and dogs. Our doctors are here to help devise a specific health plan for you and your pet. If you have any questions about your pet’s health this summer, give us a call at 440-234-6336 and we will do our best to help!