BY DR. CHERYL COPLON / AJT //
Here at Vernon Woods Animal Hospital, North Springs Animal Clinic and Brookhaven Animal Hospital, all of the doctors and staff enjoy being with our pets, especially during the summertime!
Of course, as the Georgia heat begins to kick in, the safety of our furry friends is important to keep in mind; there are many dangers that come along with summer fun.
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Here are a few tips to ensure that your pet stays safe this summer.
Dr. Jay Empel’s Summer Heat Dangers
- Whether at the beach or at a park, make sure that your dog has access to shade at all times, allowing them to stay out of the sun’s harsh rays. Dogs as well as cats can get sunburned, just like humans, so make sure they have access to ample cover.
Dog-houses are not a good place for shelter during the summer, as they can trap heat – a better way for your pet to cool off is by filling a child’s wading pool with fresh hose water for your dog to cool off in.
- Never leave your pet in a closed vehicle on a warm or hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, and heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in such warm temperatures.
- Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water. Avoid sea water when at the beach, as it can cause severe dehydration and salt toxicity.
- Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
Also, try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your pet’s paws.
- Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced) – such as bulldogs, boxers, Japanese chins and pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.
Dr. Andrew Empel’s General Health Reminders
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, especially since our anbimals tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
- Keep pets off lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions) and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers.
- Keep your pet well-brushed and clean.
- Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes (which carry heartworm disease) are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your pet.
More About Heatstroke
Heatstroke can be a serious and often fatal result of a pet’s prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog or cat is overcome.
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Mild weakness
If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, head to the shade, grab cold water and apply cool, wet towels to the dog to cool them off. Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet begins showing white or blue gums, increased lethargy (unwillingness to move), uncontrollable urination or defecation or labored or noisy breathing.
Dr. Cheryl Coplon is the newest veterinarian to join the Vernon Woods Animal Hospital Family. If you have any further questions about any of the dangers of summertime heat or tips to keep your pet happy and healthy, please contact Vernon Woods Animal Hospital via (404) 252-1641, North Springs Animal Clinic via (770) 393-9889 or our newest clinic, Brookhaven Animal Hospital, via (404) 237-0316.