Many hot weather tips are purely common sense. Dogs and cats can suffer from the same heat related problems as humans for example, overheating, dehydration, and sunburn. Never keep a dog in a locked vehicle on a hot day as a cars’ temperature can climb very rapidly even with the windows left partially open. Keep your pet out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Always allow for access to fresh water and shade. Allow your pets access to a cool area in your home especially during the mid- day hours. Exercise with your pet early or late in the day when it is cooler. Minimize your pet’s exposure to hot asphalt, as it can be dangerous. Keep your dogs on a leash when outdoors to prevent accidents and injuries. All pets should wear id collars at all times.
Heat stroke can be life threatening for both dogs and cats. At risk breeds include brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Persian cats. Signs to watch for are: rapid panting, hot skin, a dark red tongue and gums, and lethargy. If heat stroke is suspected, get the animal to a cool place, put cold compresses on the belly, or wet the pet down with cold water. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and you should contact a veterinarian immediately.
Pets and Their Fur
Keep your pet well groomed. Frequent brushing lets you check for fleas and ticks and minimize “matting” which can cause skin problems in hot weather. Long hair breeds should have their fur shaved to approximately 1 inch. If you shave the fur too short you risk the chance of sunburn.
Avoid allowing your pet near areas you suspect may have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Beware of antifreeze or other automotive fluids leaking from your vehicle. Animals can be attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting a small amount is dangerous and life threatening
Keep pets away from picnic garbage. Ingestion of corncobs, chicken bones, and rib bones can be problematic for your pet. Be sure to keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles, and insect coils out of pets’ reach.
The Beach and Swimming
Pets that swim in salt water should be thoroughly rinsed after swimming. Dogs should not be allowed to ingest excess salt water as this can make them sick.
Please make sure there are no open, unscreened windows in your home through which animals can fall or jump. During the summer the number of cats falling from windows increases dramatically.
Fleas can be a very frustrating problem for pets and their owners. Scratching and hair loss are signs commonly associated with fleas. Ticks carry diseases and can cause allergic reactions when they bite. Consult a veterinarian for the best ways to prevent fleas and ticks.
Heartworm Disease and Prevention
An infected mosquito transmits heartworm disease. Dogs must be tested each spring to ensure they are heartworm free. They should then take a monthly pill to prevent heartworm disease. Florida has seen an increase in heartworm disease over the last few years. Florida ranks #2 in this U.S. for number of heartworm cases in 2010.
Diseases can flourish in hot weather. Parvovirus, feline leukemia, feline calici virus, and leptospirosis are all serious diseases that can be prevented with yearly vaccines. Rabies concerns increase in the summer as pets spend more time outdoors.