Prepare your dog for the summer

Summer tends to be a very busy time for veterinary practices. Naturally people are more engaged in outdoor activities, which can be very pleasurable for both humans and pets but at times bare risks. In this article I will describe in brief the most common summer related hazards for dogs.
The Okanagan valley can get very hot in the summer, heat stroke is one of the most common reasons for emergency visits to the vet. In order to prevent heat stroke try to exercise your dog in the morning and early evening hours. Try to avoid any excessive physical activity in the outdoors during the hot hours of the day. Make sure your pet has access to drinking water at all times. If you place your dog in the yard, even for resting, make sure it has a shaded area to stay in. Never leave your pet in the car without an open window or air conditioner, not even for few minutes. In the summer the temperature in a parked car can be very high and even few minutes can jeopardise your pet’s life.
Many people like to take their dog to the lake. People usually assume that all dogs are good swimmers, this is actually not true. Most dogs know how to swim, but some dogs in particular small breed dogs and young dogs are at higher risk of drowning. Nowadays pet stores carry dog’s life jackets. If you are taking your dog along with you for boating or any other activity in which the dog might fall into the water, it would be safer to first equip your dog with a life jacket.
Summer time makes everybody more active, including the snakes… Snake bites around the face and neck are the most dangerous. On top of the damage done by the snake’s venom, the face and neck might swell up and cause respiratory impairment. Unfortunately those areas in the body are the most common to be involved, because the snakes tend to attack the dogs when the dogs get closer to sniff them. I recommend to keep the dog on a leash so you would be able to control it’s action. If your dog got bitten by a snake, seek immediate veterinary care.
“Hit by car” is one of the most common reasons for emergency visits to the vet all year around, but there is a higher incidence of “hit by car” cases during the summer season. Always keep your dog on a leash, don’t let your dog roam around free on its own with no supervision and having a fenced yard, are some of the things you can do to prevent your dog from getting injured.
I would like to remind pet owners that preventative medicine is extremely important in summer time. As discussed before in different articles, fleas and ticks are vectors of different diseases. These external parasites, along with the mosquitoes that transmit heartworm are all temperature dependent and hence the diseases attributed to them are more prevalent in the summer.
I strongly recommend to keep your dog up to date on it’s deworming, flea and tick control and apply heartworm medications every month during the heartworm season (April- November).
Please consult your veterinarian about more advises on how to enjoy a safe summer with your furry friend.