This spring has been filled with heavy rain, but a hot summer is on the way. As the weather starts heating up, pet owners should keep a watchful eye on their furry friends.
Warm weather and water are a perfect combination to form a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are undoubtedly a nuisance for humans, but for unprotected dogs, one bite from an infected mosquito may prove fatal. Mosquitos can transmit heartworm to dogs. Heartworm is difficult to treat, but easy to prevent. Talk to your vet for prevention options.
Not only can mosquitoes give dogs heartworm, but people using bug spray or insect repellants against mosquitos and other pests should be wary of where they place their insecticides.
The chemicals in insecticides (and herbicides) can harm dogs and other animals. Try to find pet-safe insecticides and keep dogs off of treated lawns and gardens.
Dogs and cats who spend time outdoors should also be routinely inspected for ticks, fleas, and worms. Should your dog or cat have fleas, talk to your vet about the best options for treatment. Some animals may not respond to a topical treatment as well as others. Fleas are not picky about their hosts, so keep an eye on your non-fuzzy family members, too. On the bright side, dogs and cats cannot transmit lice to humans, but they can spread lice to their own species. (For example, dogs cannot contract head lice from humans, but they may contract dog lice from another dog.)
If your dog goes to a doggy daycare, groomer, or kennel, inform workers if your dog has fleas, lice, or any other parasites. The chances are high that other dogs might have them, too. It is important to allow them to take future preventative measures and inform other owners.
Ensure your pets have plenty of clean water and a place to stay cool. Dogs and cats with dark fur are especially at risk in hot weather. Other “at-risk” breeds of dogs (like the chihuahua or Mexican hairless) and cats (like the sphynx or Devon and Cornish Rexes) have lighter, thinner coats. It may be wise to invest in pet-safe sunscreen for extended outdoor playtime in the day.
One good “cool-down” method for some animals can be swimming in cool, clean water. Keep an eye on your pets near swimming pools and other bodies of water. A kiddie pool can be a good investment for dog owners, and a fun way to let out energy!
Perhaps the best “cool-down” idea is making pet-friendly popsicles. The whole family can get involved in this little DIY activity to cool down alongside their pet.