Pet Summer Safety
As we enter the “Dog Days of Summer,” it is important to remember that the scorching heat and humidity can really put a damper on you and your pet’s daily routine. While dogs benefit both physically and mentally from daily exercise, it is important that during summer you take extra consideration for your pet. Excessive heat, the pet’s age and physical fitness, snakes, and other dogs are just a few of the situations that could lead to a veterinary visit.
EXCESSIVE HEAT OR HEATSTROKE
It’s important to consider outside temperatures before partaking in outdoor activities with dogs in the summer.
The canine body cooling system functions differently than humans, as dogs primarily cool off through panting. They can rapidly overheat and as they love to play and do not always know when to stop.
Veterinarians commonly treat dogs for heat-related incidents when the outside temperatures reach 80 degrees. When the temperature reaches triple digit temperatures, which is common for summers in North Carolina, it is simply unsafe for dogs to run or hike during the heat of the day.
To help prevent heat stroke, wet your dog down before and during the activity. Offer lots of drinking water throughout. Always watch for signs of overheating. Signs include walking slowly, lying down, being off balance, panting heavily, or collapsing. If your dog is overheating, immediately soak him/her with cool water and seek veterinary care as quickly as possible.
During nice weather many people are outside with their animals. It is important to careful around unfamiliar dogs. During warmer months the animal hospital frequently see dogs that have gotten into a scuffle while outside. If walking and approached by another dog, notice both dogs’ body language and look for aggression.
As dogs age, they may appear to be capable of the same length and speed of walks enjoyed in previous years. However, a dog’s body ages faster, and one year older may result in significant changes to their joints. Signs to look for include walking slower, an asymmetrical gait, or limping. Our veterinarians commonly see older animals that are stiff, sore, or limping after a long day of playing outside. It is important to use common sense to determine how aggressively you allow your dog to exercise. Dogs, like humans, will tire easily if they are not physically fit.
The best way to keep your pet cool in the North Carolina summers is to ensure they have fresh, cold water at all times. If possible, keeping your pet in an air conditioned house or in a cool, shaded area can help keep them comfortable.
Homemade “pupsicles” are a tasty, refreshing treat to give your dog on a hot day. You can blend fresh fruit and freeze in an ice cube tray. Freeze chicken broth with a treat sticking out, or freeze a mix of yoghurt, peanut butter and water.
SUMMER HEAT – HEARTWORM PROTECTION
With the increased summer heat and humidity, mosquitoes are multiplying out in full force. This can lead to an increase in risk of heartworm transmission. We recommend ensuring your pet is following a preventative health protocol for heartworm prevention Please contact Cumberland Animal Hospital if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s heartworm prevention or risk.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, we understand how important it can be to keep your pets happy, healthy and cool during the dog days of summer. We encourage you to contact us at the Cumberland Animal Hospital. It’s your job to keep your dog healthy and safe. If you have any questions or additional ideas that you use to keep your pets cool, please contact us at 910-822-3337. Cumberland Animal Hospital’s veterinarians in Fayetteville, NC are always available to assist you. Call 910-822-3337 to schedule an appointment or ask any questions.