As we approach summer, special considerations need to be taken for our furry friends. The summer months bring travel, increased environmental temperatures, and external parasites. The following tips will keep your pet safe and allow everyone to have an enjoyable summer.
TIP #1 TRAVEL
Summer months typically involve more travel for pet parents. If you are planning a trip with your furry companion, here are a few tips to remember:
- Make sure your pet has a secure place to ride in your automobile. Cat carriers that are secure in the back seat and seat belts for dogs are options. A secure location for your pet is important in the event of a sudden stop. Make sure the automobile is air conditioned adequately.
- Before traveling with your pet, go for a test drive. If your pet appears to be stressed or gets motion sick, see our veterinarians at Southern Crossing for recommendations for medications and stress-free travel tips. Classical music (piano/strings) provides a calming affect for both dogs and cats as well as phermone sprays (Feliway or Adaptil) applied to their blankets or carriers.
- Make sure you bring along accessible portable water bowls while traveling so your pet has access to water during those longer automobile trips
- If you plan to leave your pet behind while you travel, there are several options available.
- Finding a house sitter/pet sitter provides a familiar environment for your pet. Review your pet routine with the sitter and any medication that needs to be administered. Make sure you have an adequate supply of your pet’s medication before leaving. Make sure your sitter has Southern Crossing Animal Hospital’s phone number and the number to the local ER.
- If you choose to board your pet, a trial run or “day board” of your pet before you leave will familiarize the facility staff with your pet and their specific needs. It also gives you a chance to see how they acclimate to the change.
- Make sure the facility requires the necessary vaccinations and health records for all pets to board. This will help protect your pet from exposure to communicable diseases while boarding.
TIP #2 HEAT EXHAUSTION/STROKE PREVENTION
As temperatures begin to increase, heat exhaustion is more common. Here are some helpful tips to avoid over heating in your pet.
- If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure they have adequate fresh water and plenty of shade for protection.
- When temperatures exceed 90 degrees and the humidity is high, make sure your pet has a cooler option to spend their days (indoors, cooled garage, etc).
- If you exercise with your pet, make sure you do so in the cool portions of the day (early morning or late evening). Bring water for your pet if going on long runs with them.
- When taking them to parks for recreation, dogs will get very excited. Make sure you are providing exercise “breaks” while enjoying these parks and again, plenty of water.
- Certain breeds of dogs (brachycephalic or dogs with short noses) do not exchange heat well. Remember that dogs and cats do not have sweat glands all over their body like humans. They get rid of their heat through their respiratory system. Make sure you avoid high heat/high humidity days when wanting to exercise these breeds.
- Older dogs and cats cannot regulate heat as well either. Be especially cautious and avoid high heat/humidity in our older pets.
- Signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke are the following:
- Uncontrollable panting that cannot be relieved in cooler environment
- Rapid respiratory rate
- Open mouth breathing in cats
TIP #3 FLEA/TICK PREVENTION
Fleas and ticks are more prevalent as our ambient temperatures begin to increase. During these months of warmer temperatures, pets spend more time outdoors. Because of these 2 factors, fleas and ticks become more pesky in our warmer months; although, in the southeastern United States, fleas and ticks are common year-round. Here are some tips for flea and tick prevention.
- Make sure your pet is on a flea and tick preventative that is recommended by your veterinarian. Because of the rising costs of preventatives, many pet owners purchase over the counter products that are less expensive. Unfortunately, many of these products don’t work or are more dangerous for your pet (especially cats). Seek the advice of your veterinarian before choosing the right product.
- All pets in your home need to be on preventative to get good control. Remember, once you find fleas on your pet, it takes 3 months to eradicate them. The flea life cycle is the primary reason they are stubborn to eradicate once contracted.
- Environmental control is very important. For good tick control, make sure that areas of brush and debris are cleaned from the yard. Yards with a heavy planting of pine trees are more prone to tick infestations. Fleas are very hardy creatures and can live in extreme temperatures. Fleas and tick are both “hitchhikers” and their immature stages can attach themselves to your shoes and clothes and come inside with you!
- If a flea or tick infestation occurs in your home, the safest resolution is to have a pest control company spray. Over the counter options are available at big box stores, but these products can be very dangerous to your pets if not properly handled (especially for cats).
- If an outbreak does occur in your home, it is imperative that you have a veterinary recommended preventative for your pet AND you treat your environment. One without the other will result in failure.
- There are many diseases that ticks (and fleas) carry that are transmissible to humans. Keeping your furry friend flea and tick free not only protects them from illness, but also you.
Have a safe and fun summer!!
Thank you for your suggestion to have a trial run at the boarding facility before you leave on your vacation to help your pet familiarize itself with the facility. My husband and I are going to be going on a vacation in a few months to celebrate our anniversary and we’ve been wondering where our dog will be staying while we’re gone. We’ll be sure to keep this in mind and try it out if we end up deciding on boarding him.
It’s great that you mentioned that cat carriers that are secure in the back seat and seat belts for dogs are options. My brother plans to bring his cats and dogs to the pet hospital since they all need to get vaccinated again. I’ll share this with him to help with the vaccination. Thank!