Memorial Day has passed, which means one thing: summer is here!!! Summertime is great for barbecues, swimming, the beach, and the outdoors. Unfortunately, summertime also brings about heat, humidity, and bugs (Gross)! If you have a fluffy best-friend around your house, summertime also means that you have to take extra care of your pet. If you keep your pet healthy, you keep your home and yourself healthy, as well! So here are a few tips on keeping your pet’s health at its best (AVMA and Chatham County’s Public Health Department):
First of all, it is EXTREMELY important to keep water around inside and outside of your home. Getting dehydrated is a lot easier during the summer, so check water bowls periodically throughout the day and carry some water with you on car-rides and walks.
Grooming isn’t just for looks. Your pets are supposed to be well-groomed so that their fur can protect them from the the rays and warmth of the sun. If your pet has too many tangles (or too much fur in general), it’s best to cut off some of those locks in order to release some of the trapped heat.
On walks/runs, make sure your pet doesn’t drink from any puddles (in case there is something toxic mixed in) and don’t overexert your pet (because your pet might have trouble keeping a normal body temperature in hot or humid weather).
Also, keep your pets inside when it’s a burning hot day (and I don’t mean inside a car)! It’s easy for pets to get overheated, and if that happens, your pet can get sick, get brain damage or die! If your pet is panting excessively or passes out, spray water on him/her and get him/her to a vet quickly (LA County’s Department of Animal Care and Control)!
Finally, just like humans need regular check-ups, animals do too! In order to avoid easily preventable diseases within pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association said that 95% of veterinarians recommend at least one annual exam. The AVMA believes that the veterinary field needs to start promoting overall health, instead of just treating the sick or giving vaccinations.
Keeping your pets healthy means that you keep your home healthy. If your pet is unhealthy, your family runs the risk of becoming unhealthy, as well. For instance, many immunocompromised people (people who can’t fight off disease normally, like chemotherapy patients, HIV infected people, etc) run risks of catching zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted from animal to human) from bites (The Emergence of Zoonotic Diseases: Understanding the Impact of Animal and Human Health- Workshop Summary by Tom Burroughs). This means you have to keep your pets’ vaccinations up to date! Help your pet out with fleas, too! Not only will he/she be uncomfortably itchy, but you might suffer from flea bites. Make sure to wash your hands right after touching your pet or anything that comest into contact with them, such as treats and toys. Point is–by keeping your pet healthy, you not only help your pet, you help yourself!
For more information, check out CDC’s Healthy Pets Healthy People.
By ARIELLE COLON