Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During Summer Heat

Summer: the kids are out of school, the ice creams trucks chime as they drift through our neighborhoods, and our beloved pets are excited to enjoy some summertime adventures. While we can’t wait to hear about all the expeditions you emBARK upon, we also want to share some unbeatable tips to help you and your pet beat the heat this summer!

1. Save Your Walks and Exercise for Mornings and Evenings

One easy way to keep your cat or dog safe in the summer heat is to keep them indoors during the hottest times of the day. Walking your dog when the sun is still low or ready to set will help you sweat less and keep your dog cool as she burns off her extra energy. Be especially mindful of our flat-nosed pup friends, i.e. pugs, bulldogs. They can sometimes struggle to breathe in the heat. 

2. Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

In many ways, dogs are like kids: they never say “no” to a treat, they are always up for an adventure, and they never seem to tire out when they’re having fun. The last one is especially true and one reason we end up treating many dogs during the summer for heatstroke and heat exhaustion. 
 
When your dog is having fun, she doesn’t know to slow down as she gets too hot, which makes watching for signs of overheating even more important.
 
Heatstroke can do permanent damage and even be fatal.

Signs of Heatstroke (in Dogs and Cats)
 
  • Pale or bright red gums
  • A vividly red tongue
  • Fast panting that doesn’t slow down
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lethargy or reluctance to play
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tremors and shaking
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizure
  • Stumbling or falling over
  • Lack of urination
  • Confusion
  • Coma
If you think your dog is experiencing heatstroke, you will want to dowse her in cool or room temperature water (not freezing cold water--this will send her into shock). Then call us and bring her in immediately. 

3. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water for Your Pets
 
If your dog or cat is planning on lounging in the backyard or on the patio, make sure she has access to clean, fresh, cool water. Keeping hydrated during summer will help your pet better manage the heat.
 
Did you know that dogs and cats pant to cool off? Panting leads to water evaporating off their tongues which cools them off. They also lie on cool surfaces to transfer their heat away from their bodies.
 
If you’re planning a long walk or hike, bring bottled water. While it’s a blast for dogs to splash in the lake, you don’t want your dog to drink too much lake water. 

4. Don’t Let Your Pup or Cat Burn Their Precious Paws
 
Dogs’ and cats’ toes are especially vulnerable since they don’t have fur to protect them from hot surfaces. To protect your pets’ paws, always check the temperature of the pavement or walking surface before letting them walk on it.
 
If a surface is too hot for you to leave your hand on for more than a few seconds, it’s unsafe for your pet to walk on.
 
Pay careful attention to asphalt and false grass. These can reach temperatures of 160-degrees!

5. Create a Shady Oasis in Your Yard
 
Want to invest in a baby pool just for your dog? Great! Whether you’re ready to install a wading pool for your pup, or not, at least provide plenty of shade for them to relax in.
 
Dogs and cats enjoy the mental stimulation of the backyard and a shady refuge will help keep the sun off them. You can even use a beach umbrella!

6. Make Your Dog a Pup-cicle
 
Create frozen treats to help your dog cool off after long walks. Frozen peanut butter (xylitol-free, of course!) or frozen yogurt work really well. Add some blueberries to make them extra delectable.
 
For obvious reasons, we don’t have any appetizing cat popsicle recipes. ; )

7. Protect Your Pet from Sunburn
 
If you are worried about your dog getting sunburned, you can use a pet safe zinc-free sunblock on her nose and thin areas of fur. Zinc-free sunblocks are usually the best. 

8. Never, Ever Leave Your Pet in the Car
 
Temperatures can quickly escalate to over 110 degrees in your car - and this is just at temperatures are 70 degrees outside. Higher temperatures can quickly soar to 135+ degrees. Cracking windows simply is not sufficient enough to protect your pet. Please leave them at home - they'll be cooler, AND safer.
 
We hope you create some unbeatable memories with your best friend this summer!
 
 
 
Image credit: vvvita | iStock | Getty Images Plus

Your Rabies Prevention Reminder

Of all the diseases that pets can get, rabies is one of the most frightening. Why does rabies still make us shake in our scrubs after years and year of being in practice? First, there is no cure for rabies. Second, it is mostly carried by wild animals--there is no way to vaccinate or ensure that wild animals are rabies-free. Third, an animal can be infected with rabies and show no symptoms for weeks. Scary, right?

What You Need to Know About Rabies

  • Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system of warm-blooded animals. 
  • Humans can contract rabies, but it is rare. 
  • Pets can contract rabies from wild animals by getting bit or scratched. 
  • Raccoons are the most common creature to contract and carry rabies. Mice, skunks, bats, and foxes are also common carriers.
  • Between 400 and 500 domestic pets contract rabies each year.
  • Rabies often has an incubation period of three weeks to two months.

Symptoms of Rabies

While the symptoms can appear gradually, it’s important to recognize them to keep your pet safe. 
  • Behavior changes. An infected pet will often become more aggressive, nervous, or friendly than usual.
  • Rabies causes animals to become extremely sensitive to sounds and lights.
  • Animals with rabies salivate a lot and lose their ability to swallow.

How Can You Protect Your Pet from Contracting Rabies?

You’re probably a bit nervous about this contagious and frightening disease. Don’t worry. There are ways you can protect your pet from becoming a victim of rabies.
  • The most important precaution is to vaccinate your dog or cat and keep their vaccinations current. If your dog or cat gets bit by an infected animal, this vaccination prevents your pet from contracting the virus.
  • If your pet does get bit by a wild animal or a stray dog or cat, bring them in immediately. We can give them a booster to further protect them and monitor their health.
  • Never approach or try to catch a wild animal. Beware of overly friendly wild animals or nocturnal animals that are out during the day.
  • If you come across an injured animal, it may be your first instinct to try to help. This shows you have a big heart, but helping the animal can put you at risk of getting bit. Call Animal Control Services instead.
  • Never let your dog or cat chase wildlife or play outdoors unsupervised. 
  • When it comes to dead wildlife, stay clear. Don’t let your dog or cat eat, sniff, or investigate roadkill or animal carcasses. 
So, as you’re enjoying a picnic with your pup or the sunset with your cat, keep an eye out for wildlife. If you can keep your cat contained in your yard, try your best to do that. To make the most of the summer sun with peace of mind, make sure your pet is up-to-date on her vaccines. Don’t let the worry of rabies ruins your summer fun.
 
Give us a call and make an appointment for your pet’s rabies vaccination today.
 
 
 
Image credit: JC | Pixabay
 

Whipworm

Whipworm is a one-quarter inch intestinal parasite that lives in your dog’s cecum—the intersection of the small and large intestines—and the large intestine. The most common way that dogs pick up the whipworm parasite is by rooting in soil and eating dirt that contains tiny whipworm eggs that are not visible to the human eye. Consuming feces of other animals with whipworm can also cause your dog to get the parasite. With a lifespan of up to five years and the ability to continually reproduce inside of your dog’s body, whipworm can be a highly destructive parasite. Given that whipworm eggs can last up to five years in the environment, you should also clear fecal matter from your dog’s area as much as possible to avoid reinfection.
 
Recognizing and Treating the Whipworm Parasite
 
The whipworm can lead to significant health issues. The most common symptoms associated with whipworm infestation are weight loss, infection, fatigue, and diarrhea that is both bloody and watery.
 
It isn’t always easy for veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo to diagnose whipworm in dogs. One reason for this is that a female whipworm may not lay eggs for up to 12 weeks after hatching; another is that the parasite isn’t present in every stool, which is the primary way to detect the presence of whipworm. False negatives are common, especially soon after noticing symptoms. The first step if your dog has any symptoms consistent with whipworm will be to analyze a fresh fecal sample.  If that doesn't confirm a diagnosis but our veterinarian is still suspicious of whipworm, we may recommend treating for the parasite while doing other diagnostics for diarrhea (bloodwork or radiographs).
 
The treatment for whipworm is for your dog to take an anti-parasitic oral medication until she no longer shows signs of infestation.  It is important that you give your dog the full course of medication, even if she seems better.  This is necessary to ensure that the treatment kills the whipworm completely.  Some heartworm medications, such as Heartgard (which our doctors recommend using year round), also treat whipworm so it is a good idea to use this parasite preventative regularly to prevent the infection before it has a chance to start. 
 
Tips for Parasite Prevention
 
We recommend bringing your dog in for annual preventive care between the ages of one and seven and to schedule more frequent visits if she’s a puppy or senior. We routinely check for parasites at these appointments. Additionally, avoid allowing your dog’s feces to sit for long periods in the yard; she may try to eat them. Be sure to stop her from attempting to eat feces of other dogs as well. 
 
If you have additional questions about protecting your pet from whipworm and other parasites or would like to schedule an appointment, contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at 651-770-3250.
 
Image credit: Annetics | iStock | Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

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1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

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1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800