Tips for keeping your pet safe in summer

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Whether you have a pet waiting for you when you get home or your four-legged companion accompanies you everywhere, summer brings changes in the weather that require extra thought, time and sometimes even expense to keep domestic animals safe, healthy and secure. It is simple. If you are hot and thirsty, chances are your pet is, too. But other hazards exist that pet owners often overlook.

Whether you have a pet waiting for you when you get home or your four-legged companion accompanies you everywhere, summer brings changes in the weather that require extra thought, time and sometimes even expense to keep domestic animals safe, healthy and secure. It is simple. If you are hot and thirsty, chances are your pet is, too. But other hazards exist that pet owners often overlook.

According to Brian Golden, D.V.M. of Village Veterinary Clinic in La Mesa, the most common summertime hazards facing pets and their owners are fleas and ticks, foxtails, insect bites and overheating. Over-the-counter medication can be purchased in stores or online for fleas and ticks. Foxtails, or spear grass, are visible to the eye, but if a pet owner suspects that the burrowing plant has gotten into the ear, through the nose or any other part of their animal, they should contact a veterinarian right away.

Insect bites, such as bee or wasp stings and scorpion bites pose an obvious threat to animals, especially if the sting(s) or bites occurred in a place that can cause swelling to an airway. Single stings can be more bothersome than dangerous, but a call to a veterinarian or clinic can help determine the need for immediate care or a wait-and-see approach. Preventative vaccines are available for rattlesnake bites, however, should any pet be bit, the sooner a pet can get in to see a vet, the better.

Overheating is always a concern, though easy to avoid.

Among the top tips from the San Diego Humane Society for pet safety is to limit exercise for animals, or to do it in the cooler parts of the day, early morning and evening. If you’ll be on the hot asphalt for a prolonged period of time (pets are closer to the hot ground), get paw protection for your dog, if it’s just a towel or blanket for rest periods, and find shade. Make sure fresh, clean water is always available for your pet, at home or on the go.

For light-coated dogs, sunscreen is a good idea.

SDHS also recommends leaving your pet home as much as possible during the summer inside a cooler part of the house, or if they are outside, make sure they have plenty of shade.

Leaving pets in a parked vehicle is not advised. In a parked car with windows closed or cracked for ventilation, the temperature becomes deadly very quickly. 

The following are signs of heat exhaustion in pets:

 

* Heavy panting

 

* Glazed eyes

 

* Rapid pulse

 

* Unsteadiness

 

* Staggering gait

 

* Vomiting

 

* Deep red tongue

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