-Never leave pets in a car: The temperature inside a car can quickly rise 20 to 40 degrees in a matter of minutes. Dogs and cats cannot cool off efficiently. They do not sweat but have to pant to release heat. Pets that have flat faces, ex. English Bulldogs, pugs, and Pekingese dogs and Persian cats have an even harder time cooling off.

-Walking/exercising dogs should be done early in the am, late in the afternoon, or at night. Extreme care has to be taken if you are walking your dog on asphalt or concrete. Their pads can be burned. If the surface feels hot to your hands or feet, it will to them too. (This also applies to beach sand.)

-Signs of dehydration: gums feeling tacky to the touch, skin not quickly snapping back after being pulled up, lethargy, sunken appearing eyes. Giving small amounts of water for your pet to drink over time will help but severe cases will require intravenous fluids.

-HEATSTROKE can happen and can be fatal. Signs include extreme panting, salivating, vomiting, and diarrhea. As it becomes fatal, the pet will become comatose and its body temperature is usually 104 to 110 degrees F. If your dog shows these symptoms, place towels soaked in cool water on your pet and take it to your veterinarian immediately.

-Sunburn can also happen on our pets. Areas on their skin that are nonpigmented or have little or no hair are very susceptible, ex. earflaps, nose, armpits, and underbelly. Breeds that have very short hair or no hair are much more likely to be sunburned. You can apply child appropriate sunscreen that has SPF 30 to 50 on your pets. Do not use anything that has zinc oxide in it. It can be toxic to your pet if it licks and ingests it.

-Not all pets can swim. Dogs should be taught how to get out of a pool. Dogs near the lake or on a boat should have on a doggy life jacket.

-We need to protect or pets from pests that are more prevalent in the summer. These include mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. There are multiple, safe products for dogs and cats including topicals and orals for fleas and ticks. A cat is not a small dog! Never put a dog product on a cat. It could be toxic and even fatal. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. There are oral and injectable heartworm preventions. And remember that snakes are out this summer. Snake bites can be painful, toxic, and even deadly for your pets.

-Fireworks and thunder can be very scary and stressful for your pets. Do not take your dog with you the see fireworks. Let your pet stay inside your home. Many dogs may retreat to the safety/comfort of their crate, a shower or bathtub, or a closet. Dogs with extreme anxiety may need to be medicated. Natural type supplements and pheromones are available as are prescription meds. Your vet will be able to best advise you for your pet’s health. It is a great idea to plan ahead and make sure your pet has current ID and /or rabies tags on its collar. You can also consider having your pet microchipped, a form of permanent identification, in case your pet gets scared, gets out of the house, and runs off. Make sure your pet’s microchip contact information is kept up to date (ex. if your address or phone number changes).

-Parties are fun for us but can be stressful for your pets. Your pet may not be used to lots of people, children, and noise in the house. Please tell your guests to not accidentally let your pet outside and do not feed it people food or alcoholic beverages. Be careful to not allow your pet access to a hot grill or coals, skewers, or the grease that may drip from under your grill. Also you should inspect your patio, deck, and yard and pick up any firework or food debris so your pet does not eat it.

– 7 foods that you should not feed your pet:

1. Xylitol containing products- ex. candies and gum (xylitol is an artificial sweetener)

2. Chocolate (baker’s and dark chocolate are the most toxic)

3. Onions

4. Grapes and raisins

5. Fatty and fried foods

6. Macadamia nuts

7. Avocados

If you have any questions regarding your pet, please call our animal hospital and we will be glad to help.

Have a safe and fun summer,

Karen Miller, DVM

Lincolnton Animal Hospital