This content is provided by Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital.
By Dr. Tracy Appelbaum, Medical Director & Partner
Spring is almost here and everyone is excited to experience some much-needed outdoor time, our pets included. Long walks, dog park sessions and naps on the sunny window sill are on everyone’s minds! Here are just a few tips to ensure that both you and your family pet have fun in the sun.
- Make sure your pet is up to date on all of their vaccines. More outdoor exposure means more interactions with other animals. This can include wildlife especially for our outdoor cats. No one wants to worry about a possible rabies exposure because their pet was not vaccinated.
- Do NOT forget your flea and tick control. Fleas not only transmit diseases but they also make our pets very uncomfortable as they bite. Once in our homes, they can be very difficult to control because of how fast they reproduce. Ticks also spread many illnesses through their bite. While Lyme disease is the most well-known, we also worry about others like anaplasma and ehrlichia. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent these diseases. Thankfully, there are a variety of preventatives available which are easily administered to keep our pets protected. Your veterinarian can help you to choose which option is best for your pet.
- Make sure to administer monthly heartworm prevention. With warmer weather those pesky mosquitos become much more prevalent. Mosquitos are the vector that passes heartworm to our pets via a bite. Preventatives are now available in both oral and injectable forms so administration has never been easier.
- Make sure to provide your pet with plenty of water and access to protection from the heat. Our pets cannot remove their fur coats when outside so it is very easy for them to overheat. If a pet is exposed to the elements for too long, they can develop heat stroke. This condition carries a very poor prognosis so it is important to catch signs such as panting, lethargy, and broken blood vessels on the gums quickly. Should you feel that your pet has been exposed to the heat for too long it is important to seek medical attention right away.
- Avoid hot surfaces. Our pets do not wear shoes when outside and their paws can get burned from walking on hot surfaces, such as, asphalt and concrete. Try to keep your pets on the grass and dirt to keep their paws safe.
- NEVER leave your family pet in the car, even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes! Temperatures raise very quickly in a closed vehicle and make our pets very susceptible to heat stroke in a matter of minutes.
- The final tip is to remember to have fun! Outdoor activity will help maintain healthy body weight and it is great enrichment for everyone involved.
If your pet should run in to any issues during their outdoor escapades or if you need any advice at all, the doctors at Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital are available 24/7/365. Feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.