Keep your feline, canine safe this summer

14 May 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

The summer season can be hazardous for everyone if they don’t take precautions to stay safe and some of the same precautions should be taken for a person’s pets.

Pet owners need to make sure their pets are properly taken care of during the hot summer months that can be hazardous to their health.

“Give your pet the same precautions you would take and treat them as you would want to be treated,” said Army Spc. Emily Briggs, a technician at the Camp Lejeune Veterinary Clinic on Tarawa Terrace.

If a dog spends most of it’s time outside, make sure they have a place to get out of the sun, according to Briggs. A dog house might not be the best place for pets to seek shade because they can tend to heat up. It is also important to have shade for a dog that is on a concrete run all day.

One thing that could happen if a dog is left outside in the sun is heat stroke, according to Briggs. Heat stroke can affect a dog or cat just as easily as it can humans.

Signs of heat stroke include rapid frantic breathing, a red tongue and a temperature of 99 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Briggs. A pet showing symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

There are things a pet owner can do before and on the way to the veterinarian, according to Briggs. The pet can be soaked in cool water, Ice packs can be place under the front legs in the arm pits and in the groin area, and a fan blowing on the animal can help cool them off. Let the pet drink some water if they can but don’t let them drink to much. Do not cover the animal in a wet towel because it can hamper heat from escaping. Owners should also not use ice water because it could send the animal into shock.

Pets should never be left in a parked car for this reason, according to Briggs. Even if the windows are open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.

When the temperature is high a pets paws can burn easily so it is important to keep them off hot pavement, according to Briggs.

Another concern for pets during the summer is mosquito born diseases, such as heart worms, which is the most common disease to pets. Worms are more of a problem during the summer because mosquitoes are more prevalent, according to Gina Francis, a veterinarian at the clinic.

“Safety during the summer is extremely important,” said Francis. “I recommend year round preventative protection.”      

By following these safety tips, a pet and it’s owner can have a safe enjoyable summer with each other. For more information on pet safety call the Veterinary Clinic on Tarawa Terrace at 451-1607.