Top summertime tips for Pet Safety

Provided by the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association

Summertime; finally, your chance to relax and unwind! With your sunblock, sunglasses and a good book, you plan to enjoy the day at the pool. Suddenly, you remember your dog is in the yard – unsupervised…surely he will be okay for a couple hours. Or will he?

As the mercury rises, take just a few moments to insure that your pets are safe and prevent an urgent trip to the animal ER with a summertime emergency.

The most common heat related problem for pets is heat stroke. Also known as heat stress or hyperpyrexia, heat stroke is a real emergency for dogs. Even on moderately warm days, an excited dog might show a body temperature increase of 2-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Since dogs don’t sweat like we do, they are unable to dissipate the excess heat and heat stroke may soon follow.

Any outdoor pet can overheat on a warm summer day, but short faced breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are at a higher risk. In addition, every year thousands of pets succumb to heat stroke because they were left in cars while their owners ran “just a few” errands.

It is possible to enjoy the summer with your pets by taking just a few precautions.

Don’t leave your pet unattended outside or plan heavy exercise on hot, humid days. If your pet is left outdoors, he must have access to adequate shade and fresh water.

When it’s time to run errands, leave your pet at home. Even a few minutes in a hot car is enough to increase your pet’s body temperature dramatically.

If you find your pet disoriented, panting excessively or collapsed in the yard, move him immediately to a cooler environment. Use cool wet towels over his back, armpits and groin to help bring his temperature down. Fans are often helpful too. Do not use ice! Then, get him to your veterinarian immediately so that they can assess his status and begin life saving treatments.

Your veterinarian is also a good source of advice for products that will kill fleas and ticks. Some veterinarians also carry an insecticide gel that repels biting flies.

Summertime should be a time for relaxation and fun…don’t let a pet emergency spoil your good time.

For information on veterinarians in your area, visit www.vtvets.org.

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