Summer Health Risks for Pets
Summer means warm weather, long days, and lots of sunshine. However, it also poses a lot of threats, especially for your pets. Here are some of the biggest summer health risks for your pets.
Dehydration and Heat Related Illnesses
Pets can suffer medical problems from too much heat just like humans. Pets like cats and dogs have fur coats that can make them even warmer. Very young, very old, and obese animals are even more at risk for heat-related illnesses, as are dogs with pushed-in faces like pugs or bulldogs.
Cats will typically avoid the heat by finding shade or avoiding being outdoors when it’s too hot outside. Dogs, on the other hand, will run and play in the heat without realizing if something is wrong. Try to avoid letting animals outside in the heat of the day. When walking or exercising pets, pay attention to their behavior. Excessive panting can be a sign of overheating in dogs. Make sure they always have access to plenty of water. Never leave pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise drastically in a matter of minutes, leading to heat stroke or even death.
The ground can burn animals’ paws when it’s very hot outside. They don’t have protection from the hot pavement, and the pads on the bottom of their feet can get burnt and raw walking on it. If it’s too hot for you to touch for five seconds, it is too hot for your pets’ paws.
Stings and Bites
The bugs are out and about for the warmer weather just like you. Your animals are at a bigger risk of getting bitten or stung by bugs and snakes. Mosquitoes attack pets, too. Mosquito bites can also transmit heartworm disease, which can be deadly for animals. Treatments to cure heartworm in dogs are expensive and might not work. Currently, there is no treatment for cats. Be sure to give your pet's medication to prevent heartworm.
Summer is peak breeding season for ticks and fleas. Ticks latch onto pets and can carry a number of diseases, including Lyme disease. Lyme disease can cause joint inflammation, anemia, blood-clotting, and even paralysis. Fleas make your pet extremely itchy and carry diseases that are very bad for humans. Give your pet preventative flea and tick medication, and check whenever they’ve been outside, especially around the ears and paws.
Allergy season often lasts from spring into the summer. Plants that bloom in the summertime and pollen can cause an allergic reaction. Your pet may be lethargic, scratch and lick excessively, have a rash, or get ear infections. Dogs with allergies may lick their paws until they’re red and raw.
The increased risk for stings and bug bites can also lead to allergies. It’s bee season, and many pets may have a reaction to bee stings.
Pools and lakes can pose a threat to animals. Animals like cats and rabbits do not like swimming. While many people think that dogs inherently know how to swim, that’s not necessarily the case. If you want your dog to be able to swim, you need to work with them to train them. Otherwise, they may panic if they accidentally fall in and end up drowning. Keep an eye on animals whenever they are near water.