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11 July 2022

Veterinary

Five Summer Threats Every Dog Parent Needs to Know

If your dog could talk, they'd likely tell you that summer is their favourite season—for many of the same reasons we all love it. Beautiful weather means delightful walks, lots of smells and tons of exploration. However, with the change of seasons comes increased health risks; some threats are harder to assess than others, so it's important to know what to look for and recognize when it may be necessary to take your little friend to the vet.

Here are five seasonal dangers that any pet owner should know and how they can potentially harm your fur child.

Unexpected treats aren't always a good thing.

From baby diapers to rabbit droppings (both oddly safe to eat), your dog's taste in "treats" can be, for lack of a better word, gross. More than that, it can be fatal if left not adequately monitored.

For example, while it's an endearing, seemingly non-issue to see your pup munch on some grass, summer lawn treatments could mean they're ingesting harmful chemicals. Backyard or park BBQ droppings could potentially infect your dog with bacteria. Worse still, there have been examples of people purposely leaving poisoned food in retaliation for unwanted pets on their neatly manicured lawns.

With so many possibilities, a great rule of thumb would be to keep a close eye on your pet, steering them away from unsolicited snacks while on daily excursions. Also, keep a close watch for any strange behaviours, such as vomiting, loss of appetite or lethargies; these can be warning signs that a trip to the vet is warranted.

Ticks can make trail walks a headache.

Nothing is more cathartic than a trail walk with your pet. Still, summer strolls in wooded or grassy areas put you and your pup at risk of getting bitten by a tick, which could result in a bevy of illnesses, including Lyme disease—for this reason, checking yourself and your pup for ticks after every walk is essential.

Unlike some stowaways, ticks are visible to the naked eye and should be removed if found. As improper removal could result in the head breaking off, raising the risk of possible infection, it's recommended to let a vet take care of it.

Should you resolve to remove it yourself, you can use tweezers, going as close as possible to the skin, pulling slowly to avoid breaking the tick. It should be taken (dead or alive) to your local vet, who can have it tested for possible diseases.

Mosquitos aren't just annoying; they're potentially deadly.

Nobody likes mosquitos; they can make being outdoors quite unpleasurable. However, put yourself in your pet's position. They can't protect themselves as easily, and their skin can become just as irritated as their owner's if bitten. Even worse, a bite from the wrong mosquito can potentially spread heartworm, which can cause a host of issues, such as (in advanced cases) congestive heart failure.

The good news is that a vet can successfully treat roughly 95% of cases; still, it's essential to take steps to reduce the risk of mosquito bites. That can mean minimizing sitting water around your home or spraying your dog with. It's also wise to proactively give your pet medicine to (avoiding mosquitos altogether is impossible).

Water is refreshing when it's fresh.

Unlike us, dogs don't have sweat glands to help them regulate their temperature, which can cause them to get overheated if not adequately hydrated on hot days. It's critical, though, to keep an eye on what your pup is drinking to stay calm. A bowl filled with fresh water is ideal, as allowing them to drink from old sitting water, puddles, or even open bodies of water could result in them ingesting bacteria.

Leptospirosis is one of the most common inflictions a dog can get. Generally, spread via water that carries urine from infected wildlife, it can cause various issues. Even though it can be treated via antibiotics, it can cause permanent residual kidney or liver damage. The excellent news is vaccines exist at your local vet, which can effectively prevent leptospirosis for at least 12 months.

Fleas, a houseguest nobody needs

If there were a hierarchy of things owners don't want their pets to catch, fleas would be at the top of that list. Not only are they ludicrously uncomfortable for your pets—causing unbearable itch and irritated skin—fleas can transmit diseases to everyone in your family.

Once they grab hold of your pet, they multiply quickly and aren't afraid to branch out in your home. Luckily, you can take some preventative measures to keep your pet flea-free.

Beyond getting proactive and reactive treatments directly from your vet, you can also groom your dog regularly (ordinary soap and water will kill adult fleas). Also, there is merit in washing bedding and taking preemptive steps in your garden and yard, such as using diatomaceous earth or flea-eating nematodes.

The summer season can lead to unexpected vet visits—and unplanned expenses. LendCare can make those stressful moments a little easier for your family.

Learn more about how our veterinary financing can turn large bills into smaller, manageable payments.