Warning on “minor ailments” for your dogs and cats in summer
On holidays, we let down our guard a little. However, in an unfamiliar environment, dogs and cats need a little more supervision to prevent “holiday” from becoming a byword for “emergency”! Here is an overview of the risks to which our 4-legged friends may be exposed to while they are at the beach, in the mountains or in the countryside…
Although not limited to only the summer season, scratches and scrapes are always a potential risk while playing or walking. Foreign bodies (grass awns, splinters, etc.) can also be a source of injury for your pets. Always have an antiseptic (ex: Chlorhexidine), a wound healing care, a dressing kit (pads, crepe tape, surgical tape or Elastoplast) and tweezers on hand within easy reach!
Paw pad irritation
After a walk, your pet may have overheated paw pads or microcuts, which require an application of a balm that both soothes and promotes healing.
At the beach, hot sand and salt may irritate or even burn the paw pads and interdigital areas. Rinsing with fresh cool water is recommended, particularly between the toes. Remember to thoroughly dry with a towel to prevent trapped moisture and apply a repairing balm.
Sand and seawater (and occasionally even fresh water) can also irritate sensitive or allergy-prone skin, especially in certain breeds (french bulldog, westie, etc.). Bathing with a specific soothing shampoo may help relieving your pet.
Although generally protected by their dense coat, our pets can nonetheless become victims of sunburns on hairless areas (nose, ears, etc.). Apply a sun cream on these sensitive areas before going out. In case of sunburns, a repairing hydrating cream will soothe the skin.
This is one of the major EMERGENCIES during the summer. Heatstroke occurs in pets that remain in a confined, hot and badly ventilated space (often a car, sometimes a porch, etc.) during the hottest hours of the day. Sunstroke may also occur during prolonged exposure to sunlight. In both cases, your animal breathes abnormally fast and is agitated or conversely, seems despondent, unsteady, etc. She/he must be immediately taken to a cool place, made to drink if possible, wrapped in a towel soaked in cold water and then quickly brought to the veterinarian.
Parasites and other insects...
Fleas, ticks, flies and mosquitoes are insects which are a source of real danger for pets. Indeed, some are vectors of serious diseases (piroplasmosis and Lyme disease [ticks], leishmaniasis [mosquitoes], etc.). Protecting your pets with appropriate anti-parasitics and repellent care. Ask your vet for advice!
Envenomation from stings, bites, contacts, etc.
Summer is also the favourite season of wasps, hornets, snakes, jellyfish and other venomous animals… In the event of contact with any of these, bring your pet to a veterinarian as quickly as possible!
Dr. Isabelle Mennecier, veterinarian