Make sure to watch your dog for signs of problems related to the summer heat, and to prevent dehydration. The summer season also brings other pet hazards, so be prepared for these risks ahead of time. Some things to keep an eye on during warm weather include:
Watch for signs of dehydration. Since dogs can't tell you when they are thirsty, you need to keep offering water during warm weather to ensure they are hydrated. If you notice any signs that your pet is becoming dehydrated, slowly offer water a couple sips at a time with breaks in-between. Don't let your dog gulp or drink to an excess, as this may cause vomiting.
Signs that your pet may be getting dehydrated are:
- Lethargy or appears fatigued.
- Dry nose, lips, mouth.
- Poor balance or wobbly on their feet.
Invest in a car seat. If you are planning on taking your dog along on a summer vacation, be sure to invest in a pet-friendly car seat first. Don't underestimate the importance of securing your pet in unfamiliar territories, as something could startle your pet and cause them to flee from your car, a rest-stop, or the vacation destination. Furthermore, this will keep your four-legged friend safe in the event of a car accident.
Keep activity within reason. Over-exertion dogs during hot weather can cause fainting, seizures, and even death. Take breaks with your dog to resume normal heart-rate and allow your pet to have a drink in a shady spot.
Examine for ticks. Since most people spend more time outside during the summer, pets may also be outdoors more frequently which makes them more prone to ticks. Always examine your dog for ticks after extended periods of time outdoors, especially when the dog has been in woods, heavy vegetation, or over-growth.
Protect those paws. Remember that pavement, sidewalks, and driveways can be brutally hot in the summer. Protect your pets' paws during summer with booties and ointment, and avoid paved spaces that could be exceptionally warm. After being outside, check your pets' feet for irritation or burns.
Be vigilant about heartworm prevention. Heartworm disease can be fatal, and it is primarily transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Since summer is bug-season, make sure that your pet is protected with heartworm preventative medication. This is usually given monthly, but must be preceded by a heartworm test. Allowing there to be a lapse in medication treatment may result in additional heartworm testing required by the prescribing veterinarian, as well as additional fees.
Summer brings its own distinct hazards to dogs, so be prepared for these common seasonal risks. Talk with your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about your pet, or to schedule heartworm testing and routine exams. Be vigilant in helping your pet stay health and enjoy the summer.
For more information, contact 1st Pet Veterinary Centers or a similar organization.