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Keeping Your Pet Safe & Cool This Summer

Pet Safety is a huge concern in the Summer.  Wherever you live, the heat and other elements are a concern for our pets.  Especially here in California, where we deal with hot temperatures (Indian Summers through October!), thunderstorms in the mountains, sun exposure, rattlesnakes and much more.  Here are some quick tips on the top Summer Elements and how to keep your pet safe and protected!

HEAT:

The number one element we deal with daily is the Sun and with the Sun comes heat!!  Sun exposure with pets can be an issue.  Make sure your dog is covered if he has thin fur or white/pink skin.  All pets can sunburn on their nose and around their eyes.  There is “Pet Sunscreen” you can apply to pets…check online or with your veterinarian.  Do not use “human sunscreen” – it can be toxic.

With Sun comes heat exposure.  Do NOT take your pets with you in the car!  Leaving a pet in the car while you run quick errands can cause serious brain damage and even death!  If you have to travel with you pet during hot summer days.  Remove from vehicle while doing errands…tying up outside in front of store in shaded area and water.  Or park car in shade with all windows down and/or someone in car with them with AC running.

Hot pavement!  Pavement and asphalt on a hot summer day can get up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  This can burn  paws within minutes!  Go on walks in early morning or late evening or walk in cool grass during day.  Even sand at the beach, river, lakes can get scorching!  Be aware!

Do not cool your dog by putting ice in his/her water or dripping water over his/her head.  Putting paws in cool water and/or cool water under under arms/belly is a better way to cool them down.  Even dogs like Golden Retrievers, who have a thick coat, are designed for that coat to keep them cool.  Shaving them  down may limit exposures to fox tails; but will not cool them down any faster than having just a nice trimmed coat.

 

THUNDERSTORMS:

Thunderstorms in mountainous regions can come through the evening and interrupt a pets peaceful night.  Anxiety ridden pets can chew, scratch, dig, bark and pant their way into a tizzy.  Giving them a quiet room, crate or “safe zone” can help.  They feel safe in protected areas.  Running a fan/white noise machine can help cancel the noise.  Weighted blankets and coats can help with stress in dogs.  There is also safe medications and even CBD oils for pets that can help calm.  Talk to your veterinarian.  I have even heard of people playing thunderstorm and firework sounds during non traumatic times to help train them that it’s ok.  Playing the sounds in short periods and then rewarding in “cookies”…slowly incrementing the time and volume to help pets get used the sounds.

 

RATTLESNAKES:

Our little slimy Rattlesnake friends who come out from April through October seem to be in higher numbers lately.  With California fires and rains chasing them out of mountains into our friendly neighborhoods!  Be on the look out constantly!  Walks in mornings are always a good idea and not in the heat of day or late evening when our slithery friends are out “sunning themselves”.  Keep your dog on leash in open spaces to minimize the sniffing of gopher/snake holes and running through brush where they can stir up snakes, getting them ready to strike.  Also, speak to your veterinarian about the Rattlesnake Vaccine for your canine.  It’s a two series shot that creates antibodies in your dog to help neutralize the venom.  It can help with pain, swelling and supposedly slows down the venom in your dog.  It won’t cause immunity but it can give you more time to get your friend to the vet– it could save their life!

 

FOXTAILS:

These pesky weeds are everywhere!  Blooming out in Spring, drying up by Summer and poking into everything and everywhere!  Always trim fur around paws on longer haired dogs/cats.  Keep your canine friend on leash through tall brush/weeds to minimize their exposure into foxtail city.  After a walk/hike, check your pets paws, face, ears for any evidence of foxtails and remove immediately.  Foxtails can be in ears, nostrils, skin and cause horrible damage to your pet by working themselves through the whole body.  If you hear your dog or cat sneezing constantly or shaking head, check immediately for foxtails and/or call your vet for a check up!

 

FLEAS/TICKS/MOSQUITOS:

Yuck!  We are outside more often in the warm summer months enjoying the beautiful outdoors– so is your pet!  Fleas and Ticks are hatching in large numbers this time of year, so make sure you have proper flea/tick control on all pets!  Check your pets regularly for ticks and fleas and make sure there is no evidence of them in ears or body and that your control is doing it’s job properly.

Mosquitos carry the heartworm virus and can infect a dog.  Ask your veterinarian for the proper Heartworm monthly medication.

 

Most importantly, get out and have fun!  Enjoy these warm days and time outside– but remember to keep cool and hydrated! Always check waters in and around home and pack extra water when you are traveling.  Your pet depends on you for their comfort– make sure you are doing everything for them you can to keep them safe, cool and healthy!

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