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Summer Hazards


Filed in Dogs, Safety

The hot summer months present some special hazards for pets, whether they are playing in the park, swimming in the pool, romping at the beach or just riding around in the family car. Here are some common dangers to avoid:

Cars parked in the sun on a hot day can be ovens for pets. Never leave your dog or cat in a closed car during the heat of the day. Even a few minutes can raise the temperature enough to cause heatstroke that could be fatal to your pet.

Many dogs enjoy swimming in the ocean, but the salt water can make animals seriously ill if they drink too much. Always have plenty of fresh drinking water available. Pets that swim in salt water also should be rinsed off with clear water to avoid skin problems.

Poll chemicals are necessary to keep your pool sanitary, but if your pet drinks undiluted chlorine, severe acid burns can result. Be sure your pet knows how to get out of the pool before allowing a swim. Also, clean and dry your pet's ear canals after each swim to prevent painful ear infections and rinse the coat to help avoid skin problems.

Foxtails, grass lawns and weed seeds, and stickers of various kinds can catch in your pet's hair. Some burrow right into the skin or enter eyes, ears, nostrils or between the toes. Careful daily grooming provides a chance to check for these problems, which sometimes result in serious infections.

"Hot spots" are actually a form of moist infection, often caused by scratching or biting at fleas, or itching and chewing because of pollen allergies. Daily grooming can help to detect a hot spot in the early stages. Flea control, of course, is an absolute necessity during the summer in most areas.

Sunburn isn't just for humans. White cats and dogs or animals with large pink areas around the nose also can burn. And, if your pet has a fresh, short haircut, be sure to keep the animal out of the sun until protective hair grows out again. Some No. 15 SPF (or higher) waterproof sun block can protect the exposed areas. Even if your pet licks it off, some will soak into the layers of the skin and help prevent sun damage and skin cancer.

Source: Ask the Vet, reprinted with permission by Pet Food Express. Ask the Vet is published by Veterinarian's Best, Inc., PO Box 4459, Santa Barbara, CA, 93103.

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