Summer tends to be a very busy time for veterinary practices.
Naturally, people are more engaged in outdoor activities, which while often pleasurable for both people and their pets can also at times pose health risks.
Today, 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 a few minutes.
In the summer, the temperature in a parked car can be very high and even a few minutes can jeopardize 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 life jackets. If you are taking your dog along with you for boating or any other water-based activity, it would be safer to first equip your dog with a life jacket.
Summer time makes everybody more active, including 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 they get close to sniff them.
I recommend to keep your dog on a leash so you would be able to control its actions. If your dog gets 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 those cases during the summer.
Again, always keep your dog on a leash. Don’t let your dog roam around free on its own with no supervision. Having a fenced yard is another thing 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. As discussed before in different columns, 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 its deworming, flea and tick control and apply heartworm medications every month during the heartworm season (April-November).
Please consult your veterinarian for more advise on how to enjoy a safe summer with your furry friend.
Moshe Oz operates the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital in West Kelowna, 2476 Westlake Rd.