15 Jan Keep your pet healthy in summer
As well as her role as much-loved Clarity Acupuncturist, Caro Power is also a fantastic Vet (who teaches animal acupuncture!). Today she gives us some top-tips on how to take care of our furry companions this summer:
As we have (finally) entered the heat of summer and the temperatures are starting to rise, it is often a busy time for us vets. People take their pets out more, there are a few nasties that start popping up (like snakes), and other things that pets generally don’t get along with. So, I thought I’d share some quick tips for those of you out there with furbabies in order to help prevent a trip to the vet this summer:
This is a tricky one as they are often hard to see. Unfortunately the dog’s innate fear of snakes, which is there to keep them alive, has mostly been lost over years. If you have a dog or cat that is scared of anything coiled up on the ground, like a hose, that is a GOOD thing. They will generally avoid snakes. If you don’t there are a few precautionary things you can do:
1/ Avoid walking dogs in bushy areas where snakes are more prevalent and difficult to see
2/ Check the backyard frequently – especially in the hot weather
3/ If you live in a high risk area you can always get a snake deterrent – these are devices you put around the perimeter of your property that sends vibrations into the ground, which aims to deter snakes from entering. There are a lot of different opinions out there whether they work or not. However, down on Yorke Peninsula, where I used to live, we used to get a lot of snakes in our yard during the warmer months, and after we installed a snake deterrent we never saw one again. It could be a coincidence, who knows, but I certainly wouldn’t remove it to find out.
4/ Snake bites effect cats and dogs differently. If your dog gets bitten you will need to get to a vet immediately as the venom works extremely quickly. If you are able, carry your dog from the moment you realize that he/she has been bitten. In cats the venom works much slower and owners don’t often realise something is wrong until much later. If your cat appears wobbly, unable to walk properly and sluggish, a snake bite could be the cause.
Those two words will cause most vets to spontaneously swear. Darn annoying things that can get into ears and feet most commonly, and can be a royal pain to get out. My tip – avoid walking your dog where there are grass seeds, keep your backyard free from them and check your dogs feet after every walk! If you have a velcro dog (dog with fur that everything seems to stick to) then you’ll need to check the whole body.
Another two words that will cause a vet to curse. Snail bait poisoning in a dog is an awful thing to see, and if I never see one again it will be too soon. It causes muscle twitching initially, which progresses into seizures and death if not treated quickly. This time of year people tend to their gardens a lot more and may be tempted to use this product, but please don’t. If the pellets are blue or green they are highly toxic to pets – and do not believe it when they say ‘pet safe’. They put a taste deterrent in there, but the thing is, in order to taste it they have to put it in their mouth – and it only takes a few pellets to kill them. I cannot tell you how many of these I have treated in my days in emergency and the owner has said “but we’ve always had snail pellets and he’s never touched them before”.
If your dog has allergies this can be an itchy time of year for them. Just a small tip is to walk your dog when the pollen count is the lowest, which is usually first thing in the morning, or last thing at night.
Coming into the festival season there tends to be an increase in fireworks around town. I absolutely cringe when I hear fireworks as it reminds me of nightmarishly busy nights in emergency. If your dog is scared of fireworks, just be vigilant in finding out when they are on in your area, so you can take the necessary precautions.
If you have a dog that is sensitive to heat then it’s always a good idea to have something like a clam shell with water in the backyard to cool them down. You can also wet them down with a hose before and after a walk. There are also nifty cooling scarves and jackets you can also purchase.
Wishing all pets and their owners a very happy and safe summer season!