Summer might be “over” but no one has told the weather to start to cool down. With temperatures this year reaching an all time high we have to keep our furrier friends in mind. I had the pleasure with sitting down with one of North Americas leading veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber. He taught us all about pet safety in warm weather conditions. Living in Canada our pets face a variety of issues all year round, some of the most important ones being heart worm, ticks and fleas and sweltering heat.
Different breeds have different concerns, for example dogs with shorts noses (Pugs, Pekingese or Boston Terriers to name a few) need more water and shorter stays outside. In order to beat the heat dogs must pant (short, quick breathes). Unfortunately short nosed/flat faced dogs cannot pant efficiently. Their mouths are not the greatest at evaporating water, which is the way the dogs cool down. There are various precautions to take while exercising your squishy nosed friend in the heat:
Provide plenty of shade and air conditioning to help your dog cool down. Provide plenty of nice cold water. Don’t take your pup out for a long walk in the heat of the day. Walking in the morning or late evening still does the trick and the temperatures are much cooler then.
If you notice that your dog is over heating; signs are working hard to breath and tongue’s flat and wide. Do not hose down your dog because that can shock the system. What you want to do is take a nice cold compress and gently wipe your dog’s paws and underbelly. Getting your dog to drink: My little 9 year old cockapoo just refuses to drink. Well she doesn’t refuse completely but I feel like she should be drinking a lot more especially in the heat. I brought up that concern with Dr. Jeff Werber and he had an amazing solution. WET FOOD. Dogs love it and it has a high liquid content. I personally believed that wet food is filled with unnecessary preservative and extra calories but Dr. Jeff Werber assured me that this was not always the case. Some dry foods have more calories then wet. He prescribed IAMS or Pedigree wet food and she loves it. I am also not as concerned with her drinking habits.
Protecting your pets from invaders: Heart worm and tick prevention takes place at the beginning of the summer and the season runs through December. These are basically pesky little critters that have an effect on your pets health. Heart worm is a caused by a parasite in the blood and is transferred by mosquitos. Ticks as most of us know spread lyme disease as well as other disease. If you find a tick on your pet do not remove it. Your pet will most likely not like being restrained and hesitate/ get stressed out/ freak out and we don’t want any unnecessary injuries to ourselves or our pets. The process is very delicate and if you do not get the whole tick and I mean the WHOLE tick out your efforts will be a waste. The head of the tick needs to be removed because it causes a potential risk of contamination. Most of these parasites show no external signs so it is important to reduce the risks and take preventative measures and get your pup to the vet for an annual check up. Try setting up appointments in the summer because that is when they become active.