As we get ever closer to the first official day of summer, it’s important to know the dangers that this season can bring to your pet so you can prevent illness or injury.
Some of the biggest dangers for summer for pets are fleas, ticks and mosquitos. These insects can cause serious and even fatal illnesses in your pets.
Fleas aren’t just annoying for your pet, they can cause anemia (in serious cases), Bartonellosis (fever, nausea, loss of appetite, joint pain, and even altered brain function), tapeworms (fleas can be infected and a pet can ingest the flea when grooming), and of course, allergic dermatitis (itchy skin).
Ticks can cause the same serious illnesses in pets as in humans including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Lyme disease in dogs is diagnosed through blood tests and pets don’t develop the same “bulls eye” rash that humans do. Dogs with Lyme disease may experience fever, lameness, joint pain, limping, and lethargy. Left untreated, Lyme disease can affect the kidneys and cause death. Rocky Mountain Spotted fever has similar symptoms as Lyme disease. Other tick-borne illnesses for dogs include Canine Ehrlichiosis which can cause bleeding disorders exhibited by bloody noses and easy bruising.
Mosquitos can cause a variety of illnesses in dogs including heartworm, West Nile Virus, and Equine Encephalitis Virus. Heartworm is the most commonly known of these illnesses and causes an infestation of worms that block the flow of blood to essential organs. Often by the time the symptoms are showing, the disease is highly progressed. West Nile Virus can affect young, old and immune-compromised dogs and cause neurological problems. Equine Encephalitis Virus is lesser known and is hard to diagnose. Fever, diarrhea, uncontrolled eye movements, seizures and death can come within one to two days.
The summer heat will continue to rise and with that comes issues such as dehydration, heatstroke, and even burns.
Your pet needs hydration and should always have fresh, clean water they can easily access—especially outdoors. If you take your dog on a walk, bring a bottle of water and portable bowl to make sure they can cool down and stay hydrated.
Heatstroke can affect any pet but those with short noses (pugs, bulldogs) and overweight pets are at a greater risk. Pets with thick fur are also at a greater risk for heatstroke. Be sure to groom more often in the summer to keep the excess fur off your pet.
Pets can get sunburned just like humans. They can also experience burns on their paws from walking on hot surfaces. Don’t walk your dog in the heat of the day or when the asphalt is hot. If you can’t hold your hand on a surface for a prolonged period of time, then it’s too hot for your pet to walk on it. Walk in the shade or on the grass if you can.
Hopefully your pet will stay safe this summer, with these tips on summer dangers for pets, but if you need help, Cimarron Animal Hospital is here for you. Contact us if your pet is experiencing an issue or if you need to get them on preventative medication for fleas, ticks and heartworm.