Fourth of July is over, but summer’s still got a while to go. We’re not even into the Dog Days yet. And speaking of dogs (and cats), pets face many hot weather emergencies that can cost their lives if you don’t know what to do.
Dr. Heather Loenser is a busy E.R. veterinarian who sees certain types of emergencies repeatedly every summer. Here are the top problems she sees, along with ways to prevent them or handle them if they happen to your pet:
Like humans, pets can suffer with allergies in the summer. Often, this comes out as itchy skin. If you see your dog scratching wildly, try a soothing pet shampoo like Splash Plus, which contains salicylic acid for added benefits . Leave it on for at least five minutes, as it won’t be effective if you lather it up, then immediately rinse it off. Dr. Loenser uses the shampoo in the Today Show segment below, where she also chats about other emergencies discussed later in this article:
Heat stroke is all too common, and so is the one big mistake that people make when trying to give first aid. DO NOT douse your pet with cold water! It might seem logical to aim for a fast cool-down, but that can actually be deadly. Instead, cool down your dog gradually with warm water and a fan. Resist the urge to turn on your car’s air conditioning if you need to take him to the vet.
In addition to limiting your pet’s exposure to the heat, you can use a cooling vest like Kumfy Tailz to help him stay safe and comfortable on the hottest days. Bolt appreciates it when the Florida sun is beating down on him. The video below tells more about the harness:
Bee stings are particularly insidious because many pet owners don’t realize their animal has been stung. Suddenly your dog has hives, and you have no idea why. If it turns out she was stung, an antihistamine like Benadryl will offer relief.
When you’re barbequing outside, you might leave hazards around without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, bones, corn cobs, and even peach puts can be deadly to dogs. The number one surgery that Dr. Loenser does every summer is removing corn cobs from dogs’ intestines. Prevent these issues by disposing of edible trash securely so animals can’t break into it. If your dog is poisoned and you need to induce vomiting, you can use hydrogen peroxide.
Nasty critters like ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes love to attack pets in the summer. Use medications to protect your them, and be especially diligent about heart worm protection for dogs. Whatever you do, do not use a lit match to remove a tick. Removal with pointy tweezers is the proper method. I use Adams products on my pets because they have an easy applicator for their spot treatments and also make an excellent yard spray.
The video below shows proper tick removal:
The Red Cross has a helpful app for iPhones and Android devices. It costs 99 cents, but it’s a good investment to keep emergency information close at hand.
All too soon it will be back to school time, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Those holidays bring their own pet protection challenges, so I’ll have some tips when they get closer. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer and keep your furry family safe!
Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I also do pet tweets from that account. Email comments and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.