Dog Days Of SummerAug 7th, 2013 | By Jacob | Category: Community News
Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo by Rose Klein July 31, 2013 Dr.John Lewis at Madison Veterinary Clinic helps owners with summer time pet issues.
By Rose Klein
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Summer is here and with it, lots of opportunities for you and your pet to be outdoors. Time off from work may mean vacation or more walks and playtime outside for you and your pet. But, just like you, your dog or cat may need a little downtime after too much fun in the sun. Dr. John Lewis at the Madison Veterinary Clinic offers these tips in caring for your animals during the summer. Heat Stroke – Make sure your pet has plenty of shade if they are outside and that they have plenty of fresh drinking water to prevent hydration. A doghouse is not suitable shade because the inside of a house will actually trap any cool air available and can cause the dog to overheat. If possible, a shady spot where a dog can dig is ideal. Monitor your dog if you take them for a walk or go hiking. Avoid times during the middle of the day that is the hottest. If you see your dog drooling or weaving, stop and cool them down immediately, these are signs of heat stroke. A side note to walking: avoid asphalt and concrete as it can burn your dogs paw pads. Lastly, special care should be given to short-muzzled dogs, such as pugs and Boston terriers or cats such as Persians. Car Rides – Taking your dog with you on short rides or errands is great for the dog, but not when it comes to leaving them in a parked car. Even with the windows down, the temperature inside a car can reach up to 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature can be over 120 degrees, and can cause irreversible organ damage and death. Never leave your animal in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Snake Bites – Keep your dog safe on walks by keeping them on a leash. Allowing your dog or cat to roam freely puts them at risk for snakebite. Rattlesnakes and cottonmouths are prevalent in Northern Florida, so be on guard any time you’re out for a walk, especially near ponds. If your dog or cat is bitten, get them to a vet immediately. Your veterinarian can administer anti-venom if necessary, but for it to be the most effective, your pet should have the anti-venom one to four hours after the snakebite. Insect Bites/Stings – Bees, wasps and yellow jackets cause an increase in bites and stings for pets during the summer. The severity of symptoms from a sting depends on the response from the animal and number of bites they take. If there were multiple stings, it could cause your pet to have respiratory problems, from mild to severe. Insect bites and stings are typically treated with antihistamines. Fleas and Ticks – Keeping your pet free from fleas and ticks during the summer can be a full-time job. Flea problems can be the most aggravating and hardest to control for pet owners. A common thought is that cold weather will “kill off” fleas, but this unfortunately is not the case. Flea eggs can remain dormant up to one year. When the increased temperatures and humidity of summer comes, those dormant eggs will hatch. Dr. Lewis says that fleas may seem to prefer one pet to another, however all pets in the household should be treated, as well as the entire environment. When treating your pets for fleas, he says what appears to be most effective right now for dogs is Comfortis and Trifexis. In treating ticks, the Preventix collar has had good results. For cats, he really likes Revolution, not only for it’s effectiveness but also because it is topical. He goes on to say that Comfortis is good too, but only if your cat is good at taking pills. Summertime Travel – Carsickness is the most common complaint when pet owners take their pets with them on vacation. Dr. Lewis says this can be caused by motion sickness or from anxiety. Motion sickness can be treated with medications that you can get from your veterinarian. If your pet has anxiety from being in the car, medication can help this as well, but for a long-term solution, behavior modification is required. Gradually increasing your pet’s time in your vehicle can help them adjust or you might even consider seeing an animal behaviorist for further help if necessary. Thunderstorm Phobia – Summer in Florida brings summer rain and with that, thunder. Many pets are fearful of thunder and if not addressed, can result in damage to the house, or injury to themselves, when left alone. There are several possibilities when treating thunderstorm phobia. Tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medications that you obtain from your veterinarian, can be given for a short-term solution, but will not solve the overall issue. Products that you can purchase, such as a “Thunder Shirt” that is purported to comfort your dog or cat during the storm or sprays and plug-ins that emit pheromones that soothes your pet, are a possibility, but have mixed results. A more permanent solution is behavioral modification, gradually exposing your pet to thunderstorm noise that could allow them to adapt overtime. Armed with these tips from Dr. Lewis, and a little help from your veterinarian, you and your pet can safely and happily enjoy summer.