There is this crazy phenomenon where vet clinics get EVEN BUSIER in the summer. It doesn’t feel possible, with how busy we already are, but somehow it happens. I think it’s a combination of people going outside more with their pets and doing more activities in the nicer weather (more opportunities to get hurt), and people having vacations where they are home more or traveling with their pets (more opportunities to eat something they shouldn’t). Regardless of the reasons, our days can get really crazy at PRAH with adding these appointments in! But we will always do our very best to fit in emergencies for our clients, and to help every patient we can!
I don’t have a specific case or story to share this week, I wanted instead to highlight a few of these most common emergencies that we see, in the hopes of helping to prevent a few of them! We have seen every one of these at PRAH, and are always so happy when it is something that is easy to help/fix, but I know as a pet owner that if any of these reminders could help me to not NEED to come in, I would be so thankful!
1. When is hot too hot?? When the temperatures soar in the summer about 80 degrees, it important to keep this in mind for our pets. Just like us, if they are older, overweight, or have other health issues, this can make them more susceptible to the heat and consequences like heat stroke! Certain breeds too, like boxers or bulldogs, can’t tolerate the heat at all! (Remember my story from a few weeks ago about Stillwell!?! – heat stroke can come on very suddenly!) Try to keep walks shorter on hot days or go early in the am before it is too hot and humid. Also be careful to avoid hot cement – lay a hand on it first – if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their toes!
2. Parasites LOVE warm weather – fleas, ticks, roundworms, heartworms – these are all more common in the warmer months! Using monthly preventatives for both fleas/ticks and heartworms is so important! Honestly, you should consider using them year round with where we live, but they are most important during these warm months! It is also important to do annual screening of your pets feces – this helps us find and treat lots of intestinal parasites that they can pick up from eating wild animal poop. It is important to note though that they can also get them from walking through a puddle and licking their feet, or even if we track something in on our shoes! So check that poop!
3. Special snacks in moderation – with picnics and parties, there is always the temptation to share our treats with our pups! Or even a trash can left open, or knocked over, can lead to some dogs helping themselves to the left overs! We definitely see an increase in GI upset in the summer months too, with dogs getting into things they shouldn’t (we see dogs with GI upset EVERY DAY!), even just being exposed to bugs/viruses outside more! Vomiting and diarrhea are super common, but usually very easily treated. Watch the snacks and treats, and be sure friends and family do the same! Especially be sure to avoid those toxic treats – chocolate is a well-known one, but also avoid grapes, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and avocados!
4. FIREWORKS – I have a love-hate relationship with fireworks. They are so beautiful and kids love them, but they are TERRIFYING to animals. From wildlife to large animals like horses and cows, to our dogs and cats, they pretty much universally think the world is ending. If you have pets I would think hard about safety if planning to set off any fireworks!! And even if you aren’t setting any off, be sure your pets are safe and secured on the nights where we are likely to hear them. Keep dogs secured inside, or if walking them outside be sure to keep them on a leash (even in a fenced yard!). Be sure that you give them a quiet place to hide, and maybe play some music or leave the TV on to help them! Sedatives can be our friends here too (just ask us if you think you need them!)! Lastly, be sure they have a collar with your information, or even better that they are microchipped! The fourth of July is the date that the MOST animals go missing due to fireworks scares – so make sure your pets don’t become a statistic!
Stay safe out there and have fun – Happy Summer!!!