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Protect Your Dog from These 6 Summer Health Hazards

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Splashing, running, fetching, chasing, and, of course, tail wagging: All of these actions are quintessentially summer! Why? Summer is the best time of the year to enjoy long days filled with sunshine and exercise with your pup. So, go ahead and indulge your dog in some healthy play, just make sure he’s protected from some of the common health hazards that become more prevalent during summer.

6 Common Summer Health Hazards

Heatstroke

As the temperatures rise, so do heatstroke cases for dogs across the U.S. and here in the Stillwater area. Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises above 103-degrees and remains elevated. Once a dog reaches a body temperature above 103-degrees they have natural ways to dissipate heat, but the hot conditions of summer can make cooling off impossible in some situations.

Heatstroke can cause permanent damage to your dog’s body, including organ damage.

DOGS AT HIGHER RISK OF HEATSTROKE

  • Short-nosed pups
  • Obese dogs
  • Senior dogs and puppies
  • Dogs with thick coats
  • Dogs with heart or lung conditions
SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE
 
  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration and not urinating
  • Red gums and tongue
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Muscle tremors and shaking
  • Disorientation
If you suspect your dog is experiencing heat exhaustion (the first stage of heatstroke) or heatstroke, immerse or douse your dog in cool or room temperature water. Call us and bring him in immediately.
 
To reduce the risk of heatstroke, walk your dog in the morning and evening instead of the hottest times of the day, and never leave your dog in the car.
 
If you are planning a day hike, try to plan a route that is shady with ponds, a stream, or lake where your dog can take a dip to cool off (just be mindful of blue-green algae which can be toxic to your canine.)

 

Dehydration

Dehydration is a serious summer problem. As your dog runs, runs, and runs some more, he may not think to stop and take a few laps of water to stay hydrated. To help your pup not get himself in a dangerous dehydration situation, provide your dog with plenty of cool, fresh water inside and outside.

If your dog gets really engrossed in the high-energy games you’re playing, take a break and let him catch his breath, then offer him some water. The sound of water being poured can spark his instinct to want to drink.

Canine Influenza

Dogs love the dog park. We do, too! The dog park can be a great place for pups to learn social skills and receive much-needed exercise. One hazard many dog parents don’t know about is that their dog can catch the flu from their canine playmates.

Canine flu is spread through saliva. This means a cough or sneeze can transmit the flu virus from one dog to another. It can also be spread through food, water bowls, a collar, or leash.

Before you get too nervous about bringing your pup back to his pup-paradise, there is something you can do to protect him: the flu vaccine.

Rabies

Why did rabies make our summertime hazards list? Because more outdoor time means more possible exposure to infected wildlife that can be carrying the rabies virus.
 
It’s important to remember there is no cure for rabies, and rabies is always fatal. The most common carriers of rabies include raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
 
Take a moment to make sure your dog is up-to-date on his rabies vaccine. It’s not worth the risk to let this one lapse. Call us if you’re unsure of your dog’s last vaccination date–we’re happy to help.

Lyme Disease

Why did rabies make our summertime hazards list? Because more outdoor time means more possible exposure to infected wildlife that can be carrying the rabies virus.

It’s important to remember there is no cure for rabies, and rabies is always fatal. The most common carriers of rabies include raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

Take a moment to make sure your dog is up-to-date on his rabies vaccine. It’s not worth the risk to let this one lapse. Call us if you’re unsure of your dog’s last vaccination date–we’re happy to help.It’s scary to think that a tick can hitchhike on your dog for days before you even notice. What’s even scarier to contemplate is that the tick may carry Lyme disease. Most cases of Lyme disease occur during the summertime.

Even if your dog doesn’t frolic where deer lay or graze, it’s important to protect your pup from this painful disease that can slow him down and cause permanent joint damage.

A simple vaccine can protect your dog from Lyme disease.

Leptospirosis

Many pet parents find leptospirosis one of the most frightening illnesses out there. This bacterial infection can be found in water sources that dogs can’t help but drink: rivers, streams, lakes, standing water.

Leptospirosis causes a wide range of symptoms from swelling limbs to vomiting and lethargy. Once a dog contracts Leptospirosis he will need antibiotics to treat the infection, but treatment isn’t always 100% effective. It can cause permanent liver damage.

Once again, vaccination is your best defense for this disease.

We hope that your summer is filled with fun! From playing in the backyard to running on a local Stillwater trail, we hope you and your dog make the most of summer by making a splash. Enjoy your adventures worry-free with the right vaccines, plenty of water, and plenty of breaks in the shade!

Image credit: Kesu01 | iStock/Getty Images Plus