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Keep Pets Safe All Summer Long: 4 Tips to Overcome Warm Weather Hazards
Summer means extra time outdoors. Sunny months provide a perfect opportunity for bonding with pets, but higher temperatures, seasonal plants and pests, and additional travel can pose higher risks for complications.

To help keep dogs, cats and other pets safe during summer adventures, consider these tips from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals.

Beat the Heat
Dogs and cats cannot control their body temperature by sweating as humans do. They have a small number of sweat glands located in their footpads, and primarily regulate their temperature by panting. Vigorous exercise or being left outside without shade and water on hot days can lead to heatstroke or hyperthermia.

Increased humidity combined with warmer temperatures intensifies the risk of heatstroke, especially during the first few warm days as pets transition to outdoor activity. If your pet exhibits any symptoms of heatstroke — which includes elevated breathing rates, dry or sticky gums, lethargy, disorientation, abnormal gum color, bruised gums or seizures — apply cool, wet cloths or pour cool water over your pet’s head, stomach and feet, ensure continuous airflow and see a veterinarian immediately.

Keep Ticks at Bay
Ticks can transmit serious diseases to dogs and cats. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, as many as 1 in 20 dogs tested positive for tick-borne diseases in 2021. If a tick finds its way onto your pet, use tweezers or disposable gloves to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible then pull straight out with steady, even pressure until the tick releases.

If you find a tick, carefully inspect all areas of skin, including behind the ears and between the toes, for additional ticks. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area with soap and water and wash your hands. Follow your veterinarian’s advice about tick preventative measures, and make sure the product is safe to be used for your pet’s size. Never use dog flea and tick products on cats.

Travel Safely
If you plan to travel with your pet, pack the necessities for your animal. Your pet’s luggage should include food, water bowls, treats, a leash and collar, toys, medications and printed copies of medical records, including vaccination history. Check with your veterinarian to determine if a health certificate is needed for travel. Also ensure your pet is comfortable with his or her crate or carrier before flying or embarking on a long road trip.

Look up emergency veterinary clinics near your destination before departing or ask if your vet offers virtual care options.

Manage Allergies
Many of the same allergens that affect humans also impact pets. Atopy, also known as inhalant allergy, is a common cause of skin problems in dogs and cats. Affected animals often have a history of chronic or recurrent itching and tend to have a history of repeated skin or ear infections. Itchy pets tend to scratch themselves, lick their feet and rub on furniture or carpet. 

Some allergies may also affect their respiratory or digestive systems or their eyes. If your pet is displaying signs of allergies, your veterinarian can recommend appropriate testing and treatment to reduce symptoms.

Visit vcahospitals.com to find more ways to keep pets safe throughout the summer and book an appointment.

This material is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, no representation is made as to its accuracy. This material is not intended to be construed as legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult your legal, tax or investment professional for specific advice. 


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