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Pet Health

Summer Reminders & Tips

Val Cairney May 13, 2022 129

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Hi everyone and welcome to this episode of Val Talk’s Pets.  Well it is finally getting to some nice weather and where I am, spring has been a slow start.  But, summer is around the corner, so I thought I would go over some summer tips and things to think about.  I do have an episode on summer safety so please access that for full summer safety practices.  As well we know it is flea and tick season, so please access my episode on fleas, ticks and worms oh my!  But, in the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the things we should keep at the forefront with our pets during the warm and hot weather. 

I think I should start right off with dealing with what to do when your pet gets stung by a wasp or bee.  It doesn’t take much for a curious cat or dog to stick their nose on a bee or swat at a wasp and next thing you know you hear that yelp or your cat goes by you like his tail is on fire and you know your pet has been stung.  First and foremost, again, as I always say, know where your nearest emergency vet clinic is and their procedures.  A sting just could be an uncomfortable oweee for a bit, but dogs and cats can have an anaphylaxis reaction and if this is happening, get to the vet.  In my episode on what to do when you can’t get to the vet, I have a host of tips on what to do in this case so have a listen to that one as well.  In the meantime, you have a pet that has a face or paw that is swelling up before your very eyes, so you need to act.  Getting the stinger out is first.  Using tweezers see if you can get the stinger removed.  Next, you will need ice or cool packs to bring down the swelling.  You can use Benadryl at 1mg for every 1lb of body weight.  You can do a dose every 8 hours as needed.  But, most and seriously the most important thing here is to make sure there is no artificial sweetener in the product.  Xylitol is very toxic to dogs and as I mentioned at the end of my recent interview with Joanne Carr, Xylitol is being labelled on some products as sugar birch which is Xylitol and is toxic!  Be very diligent about this. If you can get the swelling down and nothing else is happening in terms of difficulty breathing you should be okay, but you may want to see the vet as a follow up.  

Another thing we can run into and this can be anytime of the year, but in summer some pets are more active and they can easily overdo things, step on something or have a tumble or a simple accident that may not require a vet visit but you can tell that your pet is experiencing some pain.  Most, NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are not safe for pets.  Omega Alpha has a great liquid formula called EZ Mobility which is a great pain and inflammation reducing formula that can be used to ease a pet’s discomfort if they have overdone playing or hiking or what have you.  If you are in a pinch you can use aspirin, not Tylenol, at 5 to 10 mg per pound of body weight.  However, make sure the aspirin is not coated, as a dog’s stomach cannot digest the coating.  If the pain persists you will have to get to the vet. 

So, because I just talked about overdoing it, let’s talk about going on walks or hiking.  If it is really hot, you need to take your dog for a walk early in the morning or later in early evening.  Reduce the amount of time if it’s a very hot day or forego the walk completely.  You should have your travel water with you regardless and I always use a pet friendly bug spray as well.  If you are going on a hike make sure you have a small emergency kit with you for any scraps or bites and water.  You will need water for you and your pet.  There are some very innovative water vessels out there that are for pets and combination pet and human.  Also, make sure you have a proper leash.  I know people like the extendable leashes, but large dogs really shouldn’t be on these devices because it could only take a squirrel or other wildlife that you may encounter on a hike to take your dog’s immediate attention and have him bolt and you will not have a chance to reign him in.  Before you know it, you are face down in the dirt and your extendable leash has snapped and your dog is gone.  So, for safety, you should have a proper leash on a large dog and also, remember, be courteous to other hikers and dogs.  Not everyone or every dog for that matter is comfortable having a dog running up to them that is at the end of the extendible leash or loose for that matter, which isn’t good.  Their dog may not do well with other dogs quickly being in their face or the other hiker could be afraid of dogs or doesn’t want to be jumped on, or your dog’s size could startle them, all kinds of things.  So, hike with a proper leash and always keep an eye ahead.  

If you decide to take a day trip or an extended trip with your dog in the car, there are many things to consider.  Access my episode on travelling with your pet to get the whole 411.  But, remember to have all the things your dog will need for a comfortable journey and that may include some calming supplements.  I like to use Rescue Remedy, but there are quite a few liquids, pills and treats that you can use to take that edge off of a car ride that your pet may find stressful and also for car sickness.  But, one thing to really consider before travelling even for a day with your pet is, if you are stopping for something to eat or to go into a store, what is going to happen with your dog?  Remember, you can’t leave him in the car when the temperatures are up.  I have seen some people leave their dogs in their car with the engine running and the air conditioning on, with a note saying the A.C is on and so is the radio.  That’s a funny one.  But, you need to plan how this outing is going to go.  If the dog is coming for the fun, then that means spending time at an outlet mall or sitting in a restaurant is out of the question.  For that kind of outing, your dog has to stay home.  If your dog is coming with you, maybe take a picnic, and bring a tie out stake with you, so your dog can wander on the tie out safely near you.   Drive thru for food and a picnic bench may be your answer and you can have your dog with you under the bench or beside you with his leash secured to you or the bench.  There are lots of ways to include your dog in a day’s outing or even a weekend or more away.  You just have to be prepared and do your homework.  

While you are navigating through summer, remember to be diligent with your fleas and tick regimen.  Even if you have given your dog flea and tick medication, still do a finger sweep through his fur or hair feeling for ticks.  Those buggers are nasty and they can latch on in the oddest places.  Yes, they may be dead if the dog has had medication, but it’s still best to get the tick out and clean the area.  Unfortunately it is difficult to get a topical tick medication for cats.  Flea topical medication is available but with tick included would be rare.  So, if your cat goes outside, you will need to check him every time he comes inside for ticks.  So, have your tick key handy!  

So, some of the more interesting things that can happen through the summer can be quite humourous or really get the annoyance level up.  Because Tundra is essentially a winter dog being half husky, heat is not his friend.  We only let him out for 15 minute intervals when it is up in the high 20’s or over 30 degrees Celsius.  That’s not the issue.  It’s when he is outside and you take your eyes off him for a second, he will dig a big hole and sit in it.  I’ve given up trying to dissuade him from certain areas but I can tell you when he decides to go into my freshly planted flowers or established garden and dig with my plants going everywhere and being crushed as he lies on them in the freshly churned dirt, yes, I am annoyed!  The times he has come inside with his entire face covered in dirt is more than I tell you.  It’s something we just have to deal with but digging for a cool place is something a lot of dogs do, so be prepared!

I have also had people tell me that they have put some awesome steaks on the BBQ, gone inside to grab something, come back out and found half the steaks in the dirt with the dog chomping happily on one of them lying under a tree.  Well that’s just awesome.  So, if the dog is out, and he’s big enough to get to something on the BBQ, always remember to close the lid, if you step away. 

I’ve also heard people tell me that their dog is quite the pool hog.  The kids and adults are enjoying a nice time in the pool and next thing you know, you have this large incoming bomb, launching itself into the water with no regard for who is in his way.  That’s so funny, but may not be if you have friends over enjoying the pool who are not used to your dog, like you, being a pool hog!  

And if you do have a swimming dog or you like to take your dog in a boat or canoe, do remember his lifejacket. Many things can go wrong in a boat or canoe and the last thing you want is your dog making a break for shore that is miles away and succumbing to exhaustion.  There are some fantastic lifejackets on the market, so bring your dog into your pet specialty store and get him fitted properly to make sure your summer water fun stays that way.  

And last but not least, remember to get some pet friendly bug spray, not just for walking and hiking but just for hanging out in the yard.  I’ve seen mosquitos and black flies tormenting Tundra’s face so I actually grab a product by Omega Alpha called Herba Coat.  Joanne mentioned this in our last interview.  Herba Coat is labelled as a coat conditioner, but the ingredients are, Aloe Vera, Citronella oil, lavender oil, Neem oil and Sunflower oil.  Now, don’t these ingredients sound like what we use in bug repellents?  They sure do, so I will spray some on my hands and then wipe his face and belly.  

So, summer with our pets is so much fun.  I love watching Tundra sitting in one of his holes like he’s a king, and then watching Rory wander over and giving Tundra a head butt.  Then they have a little conversation and Rory will wander off to his own shade spot.  When the weather is gorgeous, Tundra is always with us under the gazebo lying on his cooling mat.  This will be our first summer without our little Esme.  She loved and I mean loved, being outside, sitting on one of the chairs or soaking up the sun.  She was always such a good girl and we miss her.  The boys however, Tundra and Rory are already getting into the summer spirit and so are we.  So that leads me to my pet peeves section.

Well you know what I am going to peeve about and I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but every year no matter how much information is out there, some complete jerk leaves a dog or dogs in a car with a cracked window on a hot summer day.  And every year we hear about some poor dog dying or being rescued on the brink of dying from a hot car.  What on earth are these people thinking?  I truly do not know.  But, one thing I think is we need more businesses to be welcoming to bringing our dogs inside especially when it is hot outside.  I know one of the banks I go to encourages this and always has a water station available as does one of the large hardware stores.  They passed something a little while ago in my area that allows you to bring your dog onto an outdoor patio at a restaurant.  I know my U.K friends are probably thinking, you mean you couldn’t, as they have always had the ability to bring dogs into a local pub, but not so here.  So, get the word out this summer, no dogs left in hot cars, tell everyone, because as I say, knowing is caring. 

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Val Cairney

Hi everyone, and welcome to Val Talk’s Pets, the forum for pet parents and enthusiasts alike. So, I have been working in the pet industry now for almost 10 years and, on a daily basis, I handle a lot of issues and questions arising from pet parents. I am not a veterinarian but I do have certifications in Canine, Feline, Small Animal, Fish and Herptile and Avian Health and Nutrition from the University of California, Davis Extension, the Vet College.

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