From backyard barbeques to trips to the lake, summer time means we all spend a lot more time out in the sun! Many of our furry friends are lucky enough to be included in the festivities! The warm weather of the season presents some unique challenges that many pet owners may overlook.

Heat Stroke

Time flies when you’re having fun, and dogs often have trouble noticing how hard they’re working and when they need a break. This can quickly lead to overheating, referred to as a heat stroke. If not treated, this can lead to multiple organ dysfunctions and a high mortality rate. Pets should be removed from the heat, placed in front of a fan, and offered cool water at the first sign of overheating!  Don’t force your pet to drink and never use ice or ice water to cool your pet, as it causes vasoconstriction and can actually delay the cooling process. Signs to watch for are reddened skin, aggressive panting, body temperatures over 103 degrees, weakness, incoordination, and collapse. If your pet displays any of these symptoms you should seek immediate veterinary care.

Parasites and Bacteria

If your pet will be spending some time at the lake, they are at increased risk for parasites and bacteria that live in stagnant water. Giardiasis can be transmitted through dirty drinking water or even by walking through infected puddles. This can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can lead to liver and kidney damage and result in organ failure. Symptoms vary from fever, to refusing to eat, and some pets show no symptoms at all.  Both giardiasis and leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans.

Bites

Spending more time outdoors puts us all at an increased risk for insect and snake bites, your pets are no exception! Mosquitos, ticks, and fleas can transmit parasites and diseases. Snake sightings in the South have drastically increased this year. While leash walking your dogs and providing supervised time outdoors can help avoid a snake bite, there is no sure way to prevent one! If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, you should seek immediate veterinary care! While many snakes are non-venomous, copper head snakes are prevalent in the South and can lead to serious illness and death.

Allergies

Seasonal allergies aren’t just for people! Animals are much more likely to suffer from seasonal allergies in the spring and summer. These allergies can be minor, but if left untreated can lead to ear infections and severely itchy skin. Pets with bad allergies tend to lick at their paws which can quickly lead to painful raw feet! There are several options to treat season allergies from steroids to monthly injections!

Vehicular Trauma

With the whole family out enjoying the sun, one of the biggest dangers of the summer is often overlooked by pet owners! Vehicular trauma drastically increases in the summer months. Animals spend more time outdoors when the weather is nice and if a pet is left off the leash or unattended, they are at high risk of running off and being hit by a car. Injuries resulting from vehicular trauma are often devastating! Dogs should always be leash walked and all pets should be kept in a fenced in yard.