Pet tips for the sizzling summer heat

Whether we’re relaxing on the lake or traveling on vacation it’s important to take precautions for our pets. Jimmie Jo Emmons, Office Manager of St. Francis’ Pet Hospital offers some important tips for pet owners.

For outside pets she suggests providing plenty of fresh water and shade. For those who keep their pets inside without air conditioning, set a fan down low to help keep them cool. Longhaired dogs can be shaved, but not to close to the skin otherwise they can suffer from sunburn. If you’d rather not shave your pet Jimmie Jo advises pet owners brush their pets often to remove under coat.

Pets that remain outside during extreme heat can become dehydrated. Watch for these signs: Pets lie around more than normal, excessive panting, become listless or lethargic, refuses to drink, or urinates less than usual. If your pets act strange after being outside bring them inside and soak them in cool bath to lower their temperature. If any of the symptoms mentioned above persist consult your Veterinarian. It could be a sign of a serious problem.

“Dogs or cats that scratch and ingest fleas can develop intestinal problems from tapeworms. They can also get tapeworms from eating rodents such as mice, moles, and rabbits,” says Jimmie Jo Emmons. She suggested asking your Veterinarian about flea prevention to protect your pet.

Another problem is standing water, which can become a breeding ground for Mosquitoes. These pesky insects annoy us, but they also pose a potential risk to our pets. They carry the disease known as the West Nile Virus and cause heartworms in pets. Dogs with heartworms may not develop symptoms until six months later if bitten. An active dog with the signs of heartworm would lie around more often and develop a cough.

Standing water can also contain the Giardia virus, which is also found in lakes and reservoirs. Pet owners should remove standing water so animals are not tempted to drink the water. This virus causes vomiting and diarrhea in humans and pets who ingest the water while swimming in lakes and reservoirs. Veterinarians do have a Giardia virus vaccination available for pets.

Before heading out to the campground or a wooded area protect yourself and pets against ticks, a carrier of Lime disease. Seek the help of a Physician or Veterinarian if you or your pet show symptoms of high fever or become lethargic and listless after removing a tick.

Jimmie Jo Emmons says, “It best to leave pets at home when traveling, but if you do take them never leave your pets in the car. Use the air conditioning if possible. Also be sure they have plenty of shade and water, and make frequent stops at rest areas.” She also advises us to update our pets’ vaccinations and carry proof with us in case of an emergency. Jimmie Jo adds one more bit of advice, “Give you pets a lot of TLC.”

Tender Loving Care also helps the wildlife in your area. If possible set out large pans or bowls of water for animals like birds, squirrels, and rabbits on hot, humid days. To find out more about pet care call your local vet’s office.