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