It can be common for our pets to feel under the weather during summer, as the season brings with it a host of diseases that can either cause them discomfort or turn into something more serious. But we won’t have to worry over a sick pet if we know what to watch out for and guard against.
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Summer-related health risks
The pleasant summer weather means being able to enjoy the outdoors more often. However, this also means greater exposure to parasites and diseases. Here are the most common ones that we should be aware of:
- Ticks and fleas are more widespread during the summer. These bloodsuckers cause more than simple discomfort to our pets. Symptoms include excessive scratching, licking, and biting their skin to satisfy itching and painful irritation skin. They can suffer from allergic dermatitis, unusual shedding, scabs and hot spots, and pale gums. If left unaddressed, these pests can also transmit other diseases and parasites, such as tapeworms and heartworms. They can also transmit dangerous blood-borne pathogens.
- Lyme disease, which is transmitted by ticks and causes inflamed joints, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If not treated immediately, this could lead to inflammation of the kidneys and even kidney failure, which can prove fatal.
- Parasitic worms like tapeworms, heartworms, and roundworms can be acquired from contact with other infected animals, contaminated soil, or ingestion of contaminated water. Worms can wreak havoc on different body organs and systems as well as require emergency medical treatment.
- Dehydration and heatstroke are an unfortunately common occurrence during summertime. We should always make sure that our pets are adequately hydrated throughout the day and night. Plus, our pets should always have easy access to water. They should also be kept cool, whether indoors or outdoors, especially during the hottest hours of the day if not the whole day. If they must be left outside, they should have access to shady shelter if and when it gets too hot. If they need ot be left inside, keep fans running and always have a cool location where they can shelter if the indoor area gets too hot for comfort. Remember, they have furry coats, so if it feel warm to us, it’s too hot for them. And they should NEVER be left unattended inside a car for any length of time.
Keeping our four-footed friends safe during summer
There are two critical strategies to keep our pets safe from summer-related health problems:
- We must take the necessary precautionary measures to minimize their risks.
- We must take immediate action at the first signs of symptoms.
Below are some simple but essential reminders that will help lower our pets’ risks of getting sick during the summer:
- Poop should be cleaned up and disposed of properly as soon as possible as it can carry parasites, particularly parasite eggs.
- Food and water bowls, especially those that are used outdoors, should be cleaned and dried after every use, or at least once a day.
- We should always make sure that our pets’ water bowls are regularly refilled with fresh water.
- Especially when temperatures outside are at their highest, we should keep our pets in a cool place. We should also limit their physical activities (both indoors and outdoors) as much as possible if they’re not well-adapted to summer weather. This is especially true on extremely hot days, or if they are at a higher risk for diseases because of their age and health condition. Remember, Fido will always want to run and play with us. It’s up to us to decide whether it’s a healthy choice.
- If we live near a wooded area and/or if our pets regularly socialize with other pets, we should routinely check them for ticks and fleas.
- We should provide our pets with some form of shelter outside.
- A summer haircut may also prove helpful, especially for some dog breeds. This will help keep them cooler and also minimize tick or flea infestation.
- If possible, we can also provide our pets with a small wading pool outside. Of course, we should remember to always keep the water clean.
- As soon as we notice something unusual in our pets’ behavior or any of the symptoms mentioned above, we should give them immediate treatment (such as for fleas and ticks) or take them to the vet right away.
Making summer a pleasant season for our pets
These summer worries should not put a damper on all the summer fun we can share with our pets. As long as know what to watch out for, what to avoid, and what to do - as long as we’re prepared - then we can rest easier and feel more confident about letting our pets enjoy everything the summer season has to offer.
- “5 Important Reminders To Keep Your Pets Safe This Summer,” Pet Poison Helpline
- “Dogs and Water and Water-Borne Diseases - A Summertime Tradition,” Morris Animal Foundation
- “Common Diseases Your Pet May Have This Summer,” Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital Simi Valley