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Summer Safety for Your Pets

Posted August 15, 2012 in Advice Column, Downtown

Summer is the perfect time to play outside with our pets. Whether you prefer a swim in the lake or a fantastic game of fetch, the benefits of play for you and your pet are substantial. Here is some advice for keeping  your pets safe and healthy this summer season.

    Too much of a good thing. We all know too much sun is dangerous for ourselves, but did you know animals are also susceptible to harmful rays? While a little sun is necessary for good health, too much can cause burns and skin cancer. Animals with thin, light-colored coats and pink noses are most at risk; but, even dark fuzzy ones may have thin fur around their muzzle. To help protect those  noses,  a lipbalm with SPF protection can be applied.

    Hot dogs in hot rods. Even if you don’t drive a sports car, a hot ride can spell danger for your pet. On a sunny day, your car’s interior temperature can reach 130 degrees in just 30 minutes. Even with the windows cracked and a brisk breeze, your pet can overheat in no time. If windows are rolled down, you also risk an escape attempt or injury from falling. Play it safe and never leave your pet in a vehicle unattended.

 Doggie paddle. Some pups are naturals in the water, and swimming is an excellent cardio work out when you make safety a priority. Conditions like murky lake water may hide dangers such as jagged rocks, so take a moment to survey water depth and quality before allowing your pet to enter. Even the best swimmers can become tired and get into trouble. Never let your dog swim unsupervised, and consider purchasing a lifevest. Finally, make sure your pet is fully vaccinated as some disease are more commonly spread through water.

Caliente! When the thermostat is raging red, even a small exertion can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke in your pet. Be smart and keep it cool by following these simple tips. Play or exercise during the early morning or late evening hours when it is cooler. Keep lots of fresh cool water available. Take frequent breaks in shade or air conditioned rooms. Use yourself as a gauge. If you’re feeling warm, consider how much hotter you would be with a fur coat. Be especially cautious with breeds that have short noses like pugs, as they are less able to regulate body heat. Recognize signs your pet has had too much sun: difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse or seizures can quickly lead to death. If you think you or your pet has overdone it, seek medical attention immediately.

By following this easy advice, you can enjoy the summer fun and leave your worries behind. For more information about how you can keep your pet healthy any time of year, just ask your veterinarian.

Information provided by All Pets Hospital, 1330 Second Ave., 262-8535.

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