Summer Precautions For Your Pets
Summer is officially here and while we all want to have fun in the sun, summer can offer some potential pet health hazards.
Number one is to prevent overheating. Always make sure your pets have plenty of fresh clean water and a shady place to cool off from the sun when outside. And, never leave them in a car – it is illegal in Colorado. As of Aug. 1, Good Samaritans will be protected from legal consequences if they are saving a pet or child in a hot car. The inside temperature of a car rapidly increases and can lead to fatal health stroke in a short time window for children or pets. So, please remember to leave pets at home and take the kiddos into the store with you on any day where the temperature is over 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
And, owners of French bulldogs, pugs and other smoosh-faced breeds, remember their air-conditioning abilities from panting are much less than their full-nosed friends. This makes it easier for them to overheat on walks and during hot, hot days.
Sunscreens are a needed protection for us humans, but their ingredients can pose a health hazard for pets. Keep them out of reach if they contain any of the following ingredients:
• Salicylates – not a concern in small amounts but ingestion of large volumes can lead to respiratory issues.
• Zinc Oxide – found in both sunscreens and diaper rash creams, can lead to vomiting and potential allergic reactions in pets.
• Coconut and coconut oil – small amounts of products that contain coconut will likely not be a problem. But in larger volumes it can be upsetting to the digestive tract, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to pets.
Also beware of rodenticides, and not just during the summer months. There is no safe rat or mouse bait that will not harm cats or dogs (or small children). The majority of rodenticide, first or second generation, products available through a variety of sources cause death by inhibiting the recycling of Vitamin K in the body. This ultimately depletes the body’s ability to clot blood, leading to the death of the mouse, other rodents – or our pets – from internal bleeding. While the EPA has rules on packaging and availability of these products as well as how they are to be used, we still see improper use. And, as these baits are flavored with sugar, they do attract dogs and puppies, and rarely, cats.
Also to remember, human foods like grapes, raisins, onions, and chocolate can all cause significant problems and a potential trip to the vet emergency room. Xylitol, which can be found in gum, baked goods, candy and many more products, can lead to life-threatening insulin release that can be toxic to the liver and then cause significant low blood sugar. Macadamia nuts can cause a frightening toxicity in dogs, with vomiting, tremors, depression, weakness and elevated body temperature.
And, make sure that “special” food products containing marijuana are also out of pet reach. Bones from barbequed meats should also not be given to pets as the bones are more brittle and likely to splinter, causing potential choking or injury along the digestive tract.
Have fun in the sun … after protecting your pets!
Dr. Margot can be reached at parkhillvet.com.