Top 5 Summertime Threats to Your Pet

May 23 is National Heat Awareness day, and with summer and the nicer weather coming just around the corner, I want you to be aware of some of the threats that heat can pose to your pets. They’re all things that I have seen and treated in my 20 years as an emergency vet.

5. Fireworks: Lovely to look at, scary for pets! Make sure pets are inside and securely contained on the Fourth. Turn up a stereo to drown out the noise, and consider staying home yourself. Calming products or sedatives from your veterinarian may help take the edge off, but don’t count on them to make all the scary go away.

4. Outdoor activity: They say good fences make good neighbors, but good fences do more than that. A good pet fence, whether of the visible or in-ground kind, can keep your pet safe from roaming. Trauma from cars, dog fights and exposure to poison are just a few of the hazards that are out there. Make sure the pet fence is working and your dog has undergone the proper pet fence training!

If you take your dog along to the river, lake or camping, make sure you bring along a leash and they have ID like a tag or a microchip.

3. Travel: Dogs love to get sick when they are boarded or watched over by a petsitter – trust me, I have seen it again and again. Make sure the kennel or petsitter can contact you, has your credit card information and knows what you want. Copies of medical records, prescriptions and a signed authorization letter should always be accessible to the petsitter or kennel.

2. Food: One of the biggest summer threats to your pet is the same as the threat to your waistline: FOOD! Summer is all about food – cookouts, parties, S’mores, camping…

Vomiting and diarrhea are common after eating too much “people food” and can also cause a more serious condition called pancreatitis. Keep pets confined during any summer parties or outings and make sure guests know not to give treats to your pets. If vomiting or mild diarrhea happens, stop feeding, take up the food and water and try a little cottage cheese and white rice in a few hours. If the vomiting keeps up, your pet feels sick or you see blood in the diarrhea – time for a trip to the doctor!

1. Heatstroke: Far and away, heatstroke is summer enemy #1. Make sure that your dog has shade and fresh water when the mercury climbs, and never never EVER leave your dog in a car on a warm day. Your car can go from comfy to roasting in minutes! Heatstroke is deadly, expensive and 100% avoidable! If your dog does overheat, douse them with cool water, blast the A/C and get them to your vet straight away!

Keep your pets safe, keep them securely confined and stay out of the pet ER! I think it’s going to be a GREAT summer!

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