In most areas of the United States, the summer heat is here and the mercury, in some areas, in rising to 90 degrees or higher on a daily basis. These temperatures pose threats for pets that may not be present during cooler times of the year.
Heat stroke in dogs and cats
Heat stroke is, unfortunately, a common occurence when the temperature is high. The inside of a car, even on a relatively mild day, can rise quickly to over 100 degrees. Pets should never be left in a car untended, even for a few moments. Leaving the windows of the car cracked is not adequate to keep the temperature inside of a closed car from rising.
Pets also should not be left outside unsupervised for long periods of time in the summer heat, particularly not without adequate shade and fresh water. Heat stroke can occur under these circumstances as well.
For more information about heat stroke:
- Heat Stroke in Dogs and Cats: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Not all dogs and cats are able to swim and even those that are able can easily become fatiqued and drown if they fall or jump in the pool and are unable to climb out. Pets need to be supervised, just like children, when near a swimming pool. If not supervised when near the pool, the pool should be covered to prevent accidents.
Gardens and ornamental flowers
Many of the flowers and plants we keep in our gardens, though beautiful to look at, can be toxic to pets. Some of them can potentially be deadly if your pet ingests part of the plant. If in doubt about the potential of a plant to be toxic to your pet, it is best to keep your pet away.
In addition to plants in the garden, cocoa mulch is commonly used by many gardeners and can be toxic to pets if ingested as well.
For more information about toxic plants and cocoa mulch:
- Common poisonous plants affecting dogs and cats
- Cocoa mulch: A seasonal poison hazard for dogs, cats and other pets
Infectious diseases and parasites
Parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are common problems in the warm summer months and can cause numerous health problems for your dog or cat. Take appropriate measures to keep your pet free of fleas and ticks.
For more information about flea and tick control:
- Flea Prevention and Flea Control in Dogs and Cats
- Ticks on Dogs and Cats: Tips for Safe Tick Removal and Tick Control for Pets
- Best flea control and flea prevention medicines for dogs
- Natural flea control methods
- Pet Health 101: Most common flea control mistakes
Besides tick-borne diseases (such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever), other infectious diseases such as canine parvovirus are also rampant in the warmer months when people are taking their pets outdoors to play. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on the vaccinations necessary based on his lifestyle and avoid allowing your pet to play with other animals that are ill.
Mosquitoes also are a problem in the summer time and can carry heartworms to your dogs and cats. Make sure your pet is adequately protected against heartworm disease.
For more information about heartworm disease and prevention:
- Heartworm Disease in Dogs
- Canine heartworm disease: A mosquito-borne disease in dogs
- Heartworm treatment in dogs
- Heartworm medicines — Necessary pet medication or veterinary gimmick?
- Feline heartworm disease
- Heartworm medications for cats
Thunderstorms and anxiety
For some pets, thunderstorms produce a great deal of anxiety and dogs and cats that become overly frightened can sometimes injure themselves. Never leave your pet outside during a thunderstorm. Dogs that become frightened often break through fences and enclosures to escape. Once loose, the danger of injury increases.
There are numerous methods for helping to calm an anxious pet during a frightening episode such as a thunderstorm. Placing the pet in a dark room with a television or radio playing can help. DAP® diffusers or collars (for dogs) and Feliway® diffusers (for cats) can help as well. Anxiety wraps are available that can help calm your pet too. Numerous behavioral modification techniques can be used to help alleviate fears and are successful for some animals. If all else fails, anxiolytic medications can also be used in extreme cases.
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