As we’re enjoying summer, there are some risks to our furry family members. In addition to proper parasite control, especially fleas, ticks, and heartworms, here are a few tips to keep pets happy and healthy as the weather warms.
1. Fresh water keeps pets hydrated and minimizes the risk of heat exhaustion/stroke. Check a pet’s water several times each day and keep the bowl full. Don’t forget that water evaporates quicker when it’s warmer.
2. Keep pets inside if possible. If it’s too hot for people, it’s definitely too hot for furry pets. If pets must be kept outdoors, provide plenty of shade, ensure air flow, and lots of fresh water (even using multiple water bowls).
3. Clip pets because longer-haired dogs and cats are more comfortable as it warms when their hair is clipped shorter and closer to their body.
4. Watch the sun. Pets, especially lighter coated/skinned pets can get burned, and excess sun exposure can cause skin cancer in pets. Sunscreens made for people are usually safe for pets, but always check with a veterinarian first.
5. Never leave pets unattended in the car.
6. Watch noises. Pets can get stressed with fireworks, larger gatherings, cookouts and storms. It’s cruel to not consider a pet’s emotional state during these times. When needed, short-term use of safe conventional antianxiety medications may be considered, but natural remedies such as CBD oil and herbs such as valerian and lavender are also worthy of consideration. Many CBD oils have little efficacy, so, follow a vet’s advice on the best, most-effective CBD oil that could help a pet.
7. Enjoy water safely. Many pets love being in the water, but can’t naturally swim and die when they can’t get out of a pool. Think of the pet as a child and keep them away from the water unless they are strictly supervised.
8. Exercise care on walks. Walking a pet in the middle of a 100-degree, 90 percent humidity day is torture. This is simply asking for trouble, such as fatal heat stroke. Limit walks to early morning or later evening hours when the sun is hiding.
Shawn Messonnier, DVM, is a past supporting member of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians and author of The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle.
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