The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
For many pets and their owners, summertime offers a chance to be outdoors, spend more time playing and enjoying the great weather.
Unfortunately, there are also several dangers that summer can bring with it. With some preparation and knowledge you can keep your pet safe and make sure summer stays fun. To help you, we’ve gathered the top three risks that face your pet and how you can prevent and recognize them.
One of the top concerns as pets spend more time outside is tick-borne diseases. While outdoors avoid places ticks hide, such as long grass and thick underbrush. Once inside check your dog for ticks and remove any that you see. Your dog should also be on flea and tick preventative to kill anything they may pick up.
Lyme disease is transmitted through deer ticks. While it is more prevalent in the New England area, it can be found all over.
Symptoms: Joint pain, lethargy, decreased appetite and fever. Typically takes several months for symptoms to appear.
Ehrlichiosis is one of the most common tick-borne diseases.
Symptoms: Fever, decreased appetite and weight loss, depression, runny nose, watery eyes, frequent bloody noses and enlarged lymph nodes or limbs. Takes several months for symptoms to appear.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, despite its name, this disease is not restricted to the Rocky Mountain area but can be found throughout North and South America.
Symptoms: Fever, joint or muscle pain, anemia, skin lesions, and vomiting. Signs typically appear within a few days.
- Dehydration and heatstroke
With higher temperatures comes an increased risk of dehydration and heatstroke. Short-nosed breeds are especially prone to heatstroke, as are animals that are overweight or have thick coats.
Bring water with you when you go on walks and stay in the shade as much as possible. If you’re walking in a paved area, be aware of how much hotter concrete and asphalt can be for your dog. If it is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
Instead try a grassy area for a walk or purchase a set of booties or paw protection wax to protect their feet. Try to take your walks in the morning or in the evening to avoid the hottest hours of the day. You can also take advantage of an air-conditioned dog daycare during those extremely hot days of summer.
Symptoms: Excessive lethargy, decreased urination, dry gums, refusing to eat and sunken eyes.
- Common infections
Infections, particularly those caused by parasites, tend to increase in the summer as the temperatures allow them to thrive and your pup spends more time outdoors.
Cause: Coccidiosis can be found in cats and dogs, and is typically transmitted through infected feces, or through consuming a smaller animal that carries it, such as a mouse, rabbit or bird.
Symptoms: watery, mucus-like diarrhea which can progress to bloody diarrhea.
Cause: The Giardia infection can be contracted by playing in or ingesting contaminated soil or water. Remove any standing water in your backyard and keep your dog from drinking from unknown water sources.
Symptoms: Diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, dehydration, listlessness and a poor-looking coat.
While summer can be a time of great fun for pets and owners alike, it is important to know the dangers so that you can protect your pet. By arming yourself with this knowledge, summer can stay fun for you and your furry friend.