Summer months are a great time to enjoy time outdoors with family and friends, including our four legged family members. Some of the fun summer activities we all love come with inherent risks to our pets. With a few helpful tips, we hope you and your furry family members can enjoy a safe, healthy fun summer.
Some of our pets, especially family dogs, love to swim and play in the water. In the California heat, water activities can be a great way for you and your canine family members to stay cool.
If you have a pool at home or visit one with your canine family member, like children, they should be taught how to enter the pool, swim in the pool, and how to find the steps in the pool so they can get out.
Never throw your pet into open water. Walk into the water with you dog on a leash. Let them walk in the shallow water and get used to the water before they try to swim in the lake. Consider flotation devises for your dogs who are older and not used to swimming.
Keep a close eye on your canine family member when they are swimming and playing around water with a current. Rivers and ocean tides can sweep your canine family member away from the shore quickly and unexpectedly. After swimming rinse your canine family member with fresh water after being in chlorine or salt water, to avoid causing skin irritation. Always provide fresh water to drink when your pets are outside and active.
While camping and hiking are great times to include our canine family members in the outdoor fun, keeping your canine family member on a leash can keep them safe from encounters with potentially dangerous predators like coyotes, mountain lions, skunks, or raccoon. Usually nocturnal creatures out and active during daylight hours or unusually friendly wildlife could potentially be a rabies carrier. Keeping your pets at a safe distance. Skunks become easily upset by approaching dogs and may use their foul defense system to keep you at bay.
Make sure that pets are inside at night to keep unwanted night visitors away from your furry friends. Keep small dogs and cats under a watchful eye to prevent a hawk or eagle nearby from considering that your dog or cat as their next meal. If your dogs accompany you while hiking or camping, consider having your pet vaccinated against Rattlesnake bites. Any animal bitten by a rattlesnake should be brought to your veterinarian immediately. The rattlesnake vaccine will buy you and your pet a little more time to get to your veterinarian or the closest emergency clinic.
Fox-tails, Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes
Every year, California pets, who spend time outside are at risk of picking up fox-tails. These sharp seedpods can become embedded in the eye, nose, ears, mouth, paws, vagina, and coat of your pet. Keep an eye on your pets for some of the following signs:
—an eye swollen shut, or squinty with thick discharge
—sneezing or discharge from the nose which may be bloody
— repeated gagging or difficulty swallowing
— head tilt, shaking the head or pawing at the ears
— continuous licking or chewing at the paws
— abscesses, often pea-sized to marble sized swollen lumps with a small opening at the center
— female dogs licking at the vular area
— open sores
Fleas and ticks are a year-round threat to your pet’s health. During the warmer months, your pet may be more frequently exposed. Ticks wait patiently in the tall grass and vegetation for the unsuspecting pet to walk by and become their next host. Ticks carry diseases like Lyme, Ehrlichia, Babesia and Anaplasmosis and others. Flea infestations can make your pet especially miserable in the warmer summer months. Fleas can also cause hot spots and dermatitis. Fleas also carry tapeworm larva which can infect your pet if they ingest a flea while grooming or biting an itchy flea bite. Mosquitoes also pose a threat to your pets’ health by transmitting heart-worm. Keep your pet parasite free this summer by using a once a month topical, oral prevention or seresto collar.
Regular grooming is recommended for your pets who spend any amount of time outside to help owners rid your furry friends of fox-tails and catch any pests who may have chosen your pet as its new home.
BBQ and Gatherings
Summer is a great time to gather with friends and family for BBQs and cookouts. If you have guests over to join the fun, politely express to them that the four-legged members of your family do not eat table food, no matter how cute they may be.
Pets who do get people food may have some serious gastrointestinal upset. Fatty and greasy foods can cause pancreatitis, leading to decreased appetite, loose or bloody stools, vomiting, lethargy. Bones from ribs or other meats can break off and become an intestinal obstruction if ingested. Most dogs have a sweet tooth so alcoholic beverages should be kept out of reach. Even a small amount of alcohol can be toxic to a small dog.