Summertime means longer days and warmer weather among us - however, we must be mindful of various challenges new pet owners may face. Here are some of the most common pet dangers during the summer months and what you can do to avoid them.
One of the most common problems that can affect pets during the summer is heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when an animal gets too hot, and its body cannot regulate its temperature. Most people associate pet heatstroke with an animal being left in a car on a hot day, but it can occur at any time – even when you are out on a walk or resting in the garden. Heatstroke can be life-threatening, so it is important to know the signs and what you can do to avoid it.
The most obvious symptom of heatstroke in dogs is excessive panting. Other symptoms to look out for include drooling, vomiting, lethargy, red gums, loss of balance, and collapse. Tips to ensure your pet does not develop heatstroke are to not leave them outside unsupervised for long periods of time, give them access to plenty of fresh water, and shelter from direct sunlight. The last tip is to never leave them unattended in a vehicle, even on just a pleasantly warm day.
Many owners are surprised to learn that sunburn is not purely a human condition, it is just as common with pets! UV light is harmful to all skin types and if your pet has any exposed skin or particularly short or fine fur, they could develop sunburn if they spend lots of time outdoors in direct sunlight. Fortunately, you can buy special pet sunscreen that can prevent this from happening. Be sure to use a veterinary-approved variety, since human sunscreens are not suitable for animals.
During the summer months, blue-green algae can form in lakes, streams, and seas. When this happens, the water can become toxic. If a dog swims in water where there are blue-green algae, it can quickly develop algae poisoning that could make them very sick. In some cases, this type of poisoning is even fatal. You can prevent your pet from getting sick from blue-green algae poisoning by preventing your dog from going in water sources containing it or keeping them on a leash around affected water sources.
The signs of this type of poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, drooling, blood in stools, breathing difficulties, and generally unusual behavior. If you think your pet is affected, you should take them to the El Paso Animal Emergency vet immediately. Seawater is also dangerous for animals if consumed in large amounts, be sure to pay close attention to prevent your pet from consuming large amounts of seawater.
Dogs are particularly prone to developing hot spots, which are areas of moist eczema that form on the skin of animals with dense fur. The skin can quickly become irritated and develop an ulcerated red patch that grows quickly, as the bacteria present on the skin spreads. They can be extremely painful for your pet. You can help try and prevent them by making sure you dry your dog thoroughly after bathing.
Insects are in abundance in the summer months. While bites and stings rarely make animals ill, they can be itchy, painful and a small number of pets may also have an allergic reaction to them. This could be mild or result in anaphylactic shock, so it is important to place close attention so that you can get your pet urgent medical attention if it is needed.
Ticks are also particularly prevalent in the summer. These parasites travel from host to host, feeding on their blood and spreading a range of debilitating diseases. You should check your pet thoroughly for ticks after every visit outdoors, especially if they have been traveling through Woodland or Long Grasses. You can buy tools to remove ticks, but prevention is better than treatment and your vet will be able to talk to you about tick preventatives that are available, including topical treatments and oral medications.
Finally, it is important to keep a close eye on your pet around water. Dogs are usually good swimmers, and cats will normally avoid the water if they can. However, some animals still enter the water either on purpose or by accident or get themselves into trouble, which results in drowning. Always supervise your pet, cover any pools, or hot tubs when they are not in use, and consider purchasing a doggy life vest for your canine pal.
For more top tips on common pet dangers during the summer months and how to keep your animal safe, please contact El Paso Animal Emergency located in El Paso, TX, at 915-545-1148.