The Texas heat is coming, and with it the need to guard our pets against heat strokes, burning paw pads and dehydration. As you and your pet venture out for a hike in the greenbelt, jog to the dog park, or even relax in your own back yard, be aware and equipped for any possible pet injuries this summer, like:
Avoid the tragic accident of a pet drowning by taking extra precaution with your pets as you spend time on or near the water this summer. Not all dogs like to swim, so don’t force them if they seem uncomfortable. If your pooch does love the water, be prepared with a life-vest and provide plenty of fresh drinking water and rest time.
When swimming in a lake or river, keep your pet far from dams or other structures that can create strong currents. If you have a pool, be sure it is either covered or gated, even if you’re confident in your dog’s swimming abilities. Put away any hoses or other equipment in which your pet could get tangled. It is advised that inexperienced dogs and puppies under four months old be kept away from the water. Overall, the best preventative measure is to keep close watch on your canine. If your pet has a water-related incident, watch for blueish skin and gums, difficulty breathing, vomiting, a dazed state, and a crackling sound from the chest, as these can be signs of near-drowning. If your dog experiences these symptoms, immediately take him to a vet or emergency animal clinic.
With the extra time we spend outdoors in the summertime, there’s greater chance for your pet’s paw pads to become torn, punctured or cut. If your fur-child steps on something unpleasant, like glass or stickers, use tools from your pet first aid kit to clean and wrap the injury. Because paw pads are in a difficult to heal spot, your best bet for proper recovery is a trip to the vet. Looking for information on burning paws? Read this previous edition of Hot Weather Help.
Sunburn- It’s true; our pets can also experience sunburns. If your furry friend is in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, especially if his coat is cut too short and skin is exposed, he can develop a sunburn. These cases are usually minor and are indicated by pain and reddening of the skin. The good news is that pet sunburns are not life-threatening and generally resolve quickly. Keep the burned area well moisturized with pure coconut oil. Do not sooth the area with any lotions made for humans, as your pet's skin is extra sensitive to some chemicals commonly found in human products. Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac- Think the rashes from these plants are only a nuisance to humans? Think again. If your pooch runs through these fragile plants and the sap from them has time to soak in to the exposed skin on her belly or the underside of her legs, she can develop a rash and blisters. Knowing how to identify these plants and keeping a safe distance is the best method of prevention. Quickly washing your pet multiple times with soap and water should keep the sap from soaking into the skin, reducing the chance of sores. Calamine lotion is toxic to pets and should be avoided. Have a vet check out affected areas, in case the reaction is severe enough to require prescription medications.
Irritations- As much as she loves it, your pet’s head out the open window while riding in the car isn’t exactly great for her eyes. Not only does it increase the chance of dust or debris entering and injuring their eyes, but the wind can also cause mild to severe irritation or scratches to their cornea. When you simply can’t resist, set a time limit and only allow when driving at low speeds. Should small dust or debris get caught in your pet's eye, she will instinctively try to blink and rub it out just as we do. Keep her blinking and see if you can locate and gently extract the debris, but don't let her scratch at her eyes too aggressively.
Vetericyn eye drops (at your neighborhood Tomlinson’s location
) are a favorite solution to treat mild irritation. If this option doesn’t alleviate the issue, consult a veterinarian to ensure it isn’t something more serious. Injuries- Dogs will be dogs! Sometimes sticking their cute little faces everywhere to explore can cause injury to their eyes, like from a thorny rose bush. To reduce the risk of these injuries, bushes and plants should be well maintained. Added bonus- this will also help decrease the chance of fleas and ticks! An educated pet parent is the best pet parent! Spread the word to guarantee a safe, happy summer for pets and people alike. Sources: PetMD, Pet Education, Canidae, and Organic Pet Digest