We are all due for a little summer! This winter just wore on and on to the point that, I, a winter-lover to the core, was so sick of it that I couldn't take one more snowflake!
But with summer and the nicer weather come a few things that you will want to avoid. These are the top 5 summertime threats to your pet that I have seen and treated in my 17 years as an emergency vet. Read them and live by them and your pets won't be singing "Summertime Sadness" anytime soon.
Lovely to look at, scary for pets! Make sure pets are inside and securely contained on July 4th. Turn up a stereo to drown out the noise and consider staying home yourself. 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 poisons are just a few of the hazards that are out there. Make sure the pet fence is in good condition 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 an ID like a tag or a microchip.
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 them to do in an emergency situation. Copies of medical records, prescriptions, and a signed authorization letter should always be accessible to the petsitter or kennel.
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 give your pet a little cottage cheese and white rice in a few hours. If the vomiting continues, your pet seems sick, or you see blood in the diarrhea, it's time for a trip to the vet!
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! Heat stroke is deadly, expensive, and 100% avoidable! If your dog does overheat, douse your pet with cool water, blast the A/C, and get him to your vet straight away!
I'd much rather be singing "Happy" by Pharrell this summer than humming a Lana Del Ray tune, so keep your pets safe and securely confined so you can stay out of the pet ER! I think it's going to be a GREAT summer!