Summer Pet Care Part 1

Summer weather in Georgia is tough enough for people but it can be downright brutal for
our pets. Here are a few tips to ensure that your dogs and cats (and livestock and other animals) stay cool and healthy.
All animals should have constant access to fresh cool water. That means 24 hours a day, every day. Water can
quickly turn green and slimy in hot weather, so your animals’ water containers should be checked at least once a day. You
wouldn’t want to drink green slimy water, and neither do they.
Clean out and rinse the container after you dump the old water to ensure the fresh water isn’t immediately soured by
leftover residue. If possible, place the water container in a location where it will receive little or no sunlight.
Protection from the sun also is essential for the animals in your care. Pets that spend all or part of their time outdoors
need some sort of shelter in the shade. This could be from trees or some structure such as a garage, carport, barn, stable,
roofed back porch, shed, lean-to or doghouse.
Our animals can’t tell us when they’ve had too much exposure to sun and high temperatures, and are suffering from
heat exhaustion or heat stroke. They depend on us to be alert to their behavior.
Here are some signs that your dog, cat or other animal has overheated and is in danger of collapsing and even dying -
- heavy panting, excessive thirst, staggering, weakness, glazed eyes, excessive drooling, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, anxiety
(possibly indicated by pacing) and increased heart and pulse rate
If you discover this condition, get your dog or other animal into a shady spot if at all possible. Apply cool damp towels.
Provide water for it to drink but don’t force it to drink since this could cause the water to be sucked into the lungs. Instead, wet
its tongue with water.
If your animal’s condition doesn’t improve, get it to your veterinarian – fast! Phone ahead so your vet can be prepared
for your arrival.
You should never leave a dog (or other pet) in your car on a hot day for any amount of time, even if you leave
windows cracked several inches or leave the engine idling and the air conditioner on. In many cars, an engine will idle down,
causing the air conditioner to stop putting out cool air.
Of course, whatever the season, you should continue your animals’ preventive health care. This includes monthly flea
& tick preventive and heart worm preventive year ‘round, and annual vaccinations against rabies, parvo, distemper, canine
hepatitis, feline leukemia and other diseases.
Finally, hot weather can provide an opportunity to give your pets some extra treats. Wet towels that are frozen can
provide dogs, cats and other animals with hours of fun before the towels thaw. Chicken and beef broth frozen in ice cube
containers make nice hot weather snacks.
(Next week: Your pets’ summer care, Part 2 –Prevent a lost animal)

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