Summer Safety Tips for Your Pets!

Summer is a great time to have a pet in the city, but it can also be a dangerous time of the year for your canine or feline friends.  Veterinary emergency rooms see an influx of dogs and cats during this time of the year.  Here are some of the most common illnesses or injuries and how you can prevent them.

1. Heat Stroke: Imagine wearing a fur coat during the hottest day of the summer – that’s how your dog feels when walking around in the middle of the day.  Dogs dissipate heat by panting and through their paw pads, so they can become easily overheated in the summer. Signs of overheating/ heat stroke include lethargy, excessive panting, drooling or weakness/ collapse. If you notice these signs, put a wet towel on your dog and bring him or her to a veterinarian immediately.  You can prevent heat stroke by always having water on hand and walking your dog early or late in the day.  Their paw pads can also burn on hot concrete, so stick to the shade!  Also, NEVER leave your dog in a car – it can get very hot, even if the windows are down.

2. High Rises: It might be tempting to leave your window open for a nice summer breeze, but this can be very dangerous for your dog or cat!  Many animals will put their weight against a screen to explore the outside and can fall.  Most cats will try to land on all fours (depending on the height) but this can lead bad injuries.  To be safe, keep your windows closed or combine a screen with a  secure window guard.

3. Gastrointestinal (GI) Upset:  If you’re taking your pup to a rooftop barbeque or movie in the park, be cautious of what human foods your pet is offered.  Many foods (including grapes, raisins, chocolate, gum, etc) can be toxic to your pet and other typical BBQ foods (ribs, burgers) can cause vomiting, diarrhea or pancreatitis. To keep your pet satisfied, bring a baggie of his or her regular dry food and have friends offer that as a safe but satisfying treat!

4. Wellness Care: Parasites, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes carrying heartworm disease seem to triple during the warm weather months.  Visit your vet at the beginning of the summer to make sure they are covered against all these parasites before traveling to the shore, dog park or kennel.  Also, we always recommend veterinarian approved flea and tick control products and some over the counter versions can be dangerous for your pet.  An animal’s fur is used to block the sun, so if your pup has to be shaved for any reason, be sure to apply a veterinarian approved  sunscreen before taking him or her out into the sun!

Enjoy the summer with your pet and stay safe!

Sarah McCready, DVM

Pet Dental Month

Dental Month at DVM Hospitals

Oral disease is the most common recurring or chronic problem in our canine/feline patient population.  These problems start with accumulations of plaque and calculus on the tooth surface.  Small amounts of this material, commonly called “tartar”, do not make for a serious problem, but as it accumulates, the margins of the gum become infected causing gingivitis and bad breath.  As infected gum dies and recedes, more of the tooth root is exposed and the periodontal tissue, which holds the tooth in place, becomes involved.  Periodontitis progresses to tooth root abscess, infection of the surrounding bone, tooth loss, and in some cases disease in distant parts of the body.  Breath will become markedly foul, the surrounding lip folds become infected, and in some cases there may be poor appetite, weight loss, signs of pain, or other signs of overt illness.


The treatment of dental disease is the most common reason for which we use general anesthesia.  Attempts at non-anesthetic dentistry have not allowed for more than the most superficial treatment of these problems, almost always with disappointing short-term results.  Yet, fear of anesthesia is the most frequent reason for pet owner reluctance to pursue needed dental care.  Anesthesia for dentistry is, in general, the same as other anesthetic situations, but does require strict attention to “protecting the airway” from the fluids sprayed into the mouth during dental procedures.  In our anesthesia protocol, we give a mild sedation to reduce the anesthetic required and to ease recovery from the anesthetic state; an IV catheter is placed and anesthesia is initiated with a short-acting anesthetic given IV; a plastic tube is placed in the airway and is designed to inflate slightly to prevent entry of any fluid into the airway during dental procedures.  General anesthesia is maintained with isoflurane, an anesthetic gas, administered through this endotracheal tube.  Our patients are kept on an IV drip and monitored continuously throughout anesthesia by a staff member dedicated to that one purpose.


For the past 4 years we have held a “Dental Month” in February.  These have been very popular.  Each year, many of our clients look forward to the opportunity to take care of anything from routine dental prophylaxis to major dental problems in their pets.  They also look forward to saving some money on what can become an expensive procedure because Dental Month offers a 15% discount on all but the most advanced procedures.  This discount also applies to a pre-anesthetic blood panel, dental xrays, gingivectomy when required, and medications dispensed.  We love Dental Month as well.  There are few areas of practice where the results of our training and work are so apparent and gratifying.


For further information on dental care or Dental month, contact one of our DVM Hospitals locations at:


Mark G. Burns, DVM