Summertime is a very active time of the year for Central Oregonians and their pets. It’s also a time of heightened risks to dogs and cats who spend a lot of time outdoors. Since temperatures can rise to 90-plus degrees, protection for our animals should be well planned and organized. Veterinary offices and emergency clinics see many animals who suffer from heatstroke in the summer when they’ve been subjected to environments that are too hot for their bodies to handle.
The number one cause of heatstroke is a pet left in a car, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association—the heat in a vehicle can rise by 20 degrees in 10 minutes and cracking the window makes little difference. “If it is warm out, it's best to leave your pet at home,” says Dr. Shalet Abraham of Bend Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. While heatstroke is the number one concern for pets (including pets kept in cages) in the summer, there are other seasonal risks. Here are four ways to protect pets in the summer. BendVetSpecialtyEmergency.com
Keep outdoor activities short. Dogs can also get heatstroke or heat exhaustion from overactivity during periods of high heat. This is especially true for senior dogs and those with the brachycephalic syndrome (dogs with compressed faces like Pugs, Boxers or English Bulldogs). Signs of heat exhaustion/heatstroke in dogs and cats include heavy panting, labored breathing, bright red-injected gums and increased heart rate. In severe cases, animals will stagger or collapse and can even have seizures. If your dog has any of these symptoms, take them to a vet or emergency clinic immediately.
Be careful on hikes. Summertime is a popular time to hike in Central Oregon and keeping an eye out for things that can bite is a must. The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake is the primary poisonous snake in our area and a bite can cause serious harm if not treated immediately. If your dog gets bitten, take them to a vet immediately and keep them as calm as possible on the way.
Treat for fleas and ticks. While Central Oregon is not a hotbed for fleas, local veterinarians report that we do have a few cases every year. “This year it’s looking like we’ll have more ticks,” says Dr. Abraham. “I recommend treating for fleas and ticks from May through October in our region and year-round if you travel with your pet,” she adds.
Keep extra cold water handy. Luckily in Bend, there are dog-friendly drinking fountains. When you leave for the day, it’s important to have extra drinking water for pets to keep them cool and hydrated. To help outdoor cats stay cooler in the summer, leave water bowls out under shaded areas like trees and bushes.