Hot weather means more time spent outdoors with pets, but it also brings along some hazards for our loyal companions.
Dr. Craig Miller, a family veterinarian who owns Loyal Companion Animal Care in Redmond Ridge, offers some advice for pet owners for a safe, healthy summer. Loyal Companion Animal Care opened in January and offers medical services to dogs and cats.
KEEP THEM COOL
“Temperatures rise rapidly inside cars and animals can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their footpads,” explained Miller. As a result, it is important to limit outdoor activity on hot days to mornings and evenings. Give them plenty of water and don’t leave them in cars, which warm up fast on hot days.
FIGHT EAR AND SKIN PROBLEMS
“Rising temperatures can exacerbate skin conditions. Ear infections are more common and allergies flare, leading to inflammation and infection of the skin,” said Miller.
To combat ear infections, Miller advises owners to “clean the ears thoroughly with an ear cleaner to help dry out the water” after swimming or bathing. For allergies, “wiping your dog’s coat with a wet washcloth can help remove pollens from the coat,” added Miller. “Use an oatmeal shampoo for allergic pets. If your pet still shakes its head or scratches excessively, have your vet examine your pet.”
STAY CLEAR OF BACKYARD TOXINS
“We spend more time outside in our gardens and yards in the summer,” noted Miller. Common chemical toxins like slug bait, rodent bait, and antifreeze can prove fatal for dogs. “It is best to avoid using these toxins if you have dogs, or in the very least make sure they are well-secured. Spring rat traps and using lines of salt for slugs would be a safe alternative.
“Lilies, including daylilies, cause kidney failure in cats,” added Miller.
If ingested, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately. If veterinary attention is not available, induce vomiting (3 percent hydrogen peroxide at 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of weight, up to a maximum of 1 ounce).
FEND OFF PARASITES
“Fleas are more common in the summer, but survive year-round here. Ticks are also a problem in the summer. Proper application of flea and tick products can prevent infections,” said Miller.
Because many of these products can be washed away by shampoos, “bathe your pet first, then apply the product a day or two later.” Never use a product labeled for dogs on cats.
Foods like raw salmon can also cause Salmon Poisoning Disease in dogs. “The parasite causes high fever, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and is fatal if untreated. Always avoid feeding raw salmon, and be cautious of river access during spawning,” said Miller.
FIREWORKS AREN’T FUN FOR DOGS
“Fireworks are a common cause of stress in dogs. It is important to treat the stress and not just sedate animals. Previously used sedatives, such as Acepromazine, often do little to nothing for the anxiety though the animals are incapable of showing signs. Discuss with your vet medications which can decrease this anxiety (such as benzodiazepines, Clomipramine, Fluoxetine) and keep your pet in the quietest part of the house,” said Miller.
Loyal Companion Animal Care is located at 22330 NE Market Place Drive, Suite 115, in Redmond Ridge. Dr. Miller is available by appointment at (425) 868-7000 and as a resource for members of the community. For more clinic information and pet care articles visit www.loyalcompanionanimalcare.com.