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Your Pet’s Summer Fun Safety Guide

Higher temperatures may translate into more time spent outdoors, but for pet owners, they can also mean more visits to the veterinarian.

Play It Cool

  • Walk with caution. Don’t walk your dog during the day’s highest heat and humidity, which is usually between 1 and 4 PM. This is especially important for dogs with short snouts, such as bulldogs, who can’t pant as efficiently in humid weather due to their narrowed nostrils and windpipes.
  • Never leave her in the car. Even if windows are cracked, the interior temp can rise by 19°F in as little as 7 minutes. On a hot day, this can be deadly.
  • Keep it cool indoors. Turn on the AC in your home, especially if you’ll be out of the house for several hours. If it’s too warm for you, it’s too warm for your pet.

Be Water-Wise

Use a lifejacket. Have your dog wear a life vest in a bright color in any body of water to help her stay afloat and ensure that she can be seen by swimmers and boaters. Let her get used to wearing it in your yard first.

  • Beware of currents and riptides. If a dog gets in trouble in one of these in the ocean, whether swimming or caught in a wave while fetching a ball, she can be swept out to sea in minutes. The same goes for rivers: You need to watch out for currents, even if they’re not readily visible, as your dog can be easily carried downstream.
  • Be on the lookout in lakes. If your dog steps in a sinkhole, which may cause her to panic, you need to help her swim to where she can touch ground again. Avoid lakes and ponds with blue-green algae, signified by scummy water and a foul odor. Algae can produce a toxin that may cause severe sickness or seizures quickly if your pet ingests the water, by either drinking from the lake or licking tainted fur.

Take Pool Precautions

Act life a lifeguard. Never leave your dog unsupervised near an uncovered pool.

  • Create an exit strategy. Teach her how to get out of the pool by using the stairs with her 5 to 10 times in a row. This will help her learn where the stairs are, whether she’s swimming or accidentally falls in and needs to climb out. In the deep end, consider putting in a pool ramp.

Keep Pets Bug-Free

Send parasites packing. Hookworms and heartworms are more prevalent during the summer and can gain access to your pet through the pads of his feet. Ask your vet for a prescription for flea and tick prevention and also Heartworm prevention.

Plan A Safer Cookout

Avoid using charcoal briquettes. Dogs seem to love to lap up or steal from the grill, and charcoal briquettes can easily get stuck in the stomach, causing vomiting and requiring surgery.

  • Don’t share. Barbecue scraps and fatty leftovers can give your pup pancreatitis, causing severe abdominal pain or death. Corn on the cob and peach pits are also a huge no-no because they can lodge in a dog’s intestines.
Guard Your Garden
  • Skip the azaleas. These common backyard shrubs can be toxic for dogs and cats if ingested, resulting in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, or an abnormal heart rate.
  • Limit the lilies. A daylily or Asiatic, Easter, or Stargazer lily and their pollen can cause acute kidney failure in cats. Ingestion of as little as two to three leaves can be fatal, so remove these plants from your yard if you let your cat out.
Check Your Garage
  • Lock up plant food. Rose and garden plant food containing insecticides can contain potentially fatal compounds. If your dog tries to eat a bag of it (or soil that’s been treated with it), he could suffer diarrhea, profuse vomiting, shock, seizures, and even death.
  • Keep away the fireworks. A threat to curious dogs that might try to eat them, fireworks are made with chemicals like potassium nitrate, and parts (like a fuse) that could get stuck in the stomach, they can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seizures, and shallow breathing. Keep yours out of reach, and clear your yard of debris after you set off your display.