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The Year-Long Itch: Parasite Prevention That’s Year Round

parasite preventionSpring and summer are marvelous for many reasons. Not on the list of seasonal splendors? Parasites, of course. Yes, bugs are a natural consequence of warmer weather, but with a proactive approach to parasite prevention, they don’t have to bother your pet – or spread dangerous diseases!

Consider the Lifestyle

Due to an indoor-only lifestyle, many pets are perceived as being “safe” from bugs and vector-borne illness. However, due to their stealthy natures, fleas, ticks, and heartworm-carrying mosquitos can quietly enter the home, unnoticed and unharmed. Yes, even pets who aren’t exploring shady, woodsy undergrowth or rolling around in the grass can become easy targets for blood-thirsty bugs.

No Fault of Their Own

Pets who remain unprotected from parasites (and the diseases they carry) are unwittingly placed in the crosshairs. Even pets who used to take a preventive but went off it, even for a short time, are at risk. Luckily, most parasite prevention medications are easy to administer; some even come with reminder stickers. We can also help with reminder apps or smart phone calendar tasks.

A Closer Look

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos pose obvious threats (e.g., flea allergy dermatitis, Lyme disease, heartworm, etc.), but parasite prevention should also take internal parasites into consideration. Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, ear mites, and whipworms can all be prevented. Without ongoing treatment, these parasites can thrive off an animal’s blood.

If you have more than one pet or if you frequent public spaces, remember the eggs of these parasites are typically found in the feces of infected animals.

See the Signs

Throughout the year, it’s important to groom your pet. This is not only satisfying, but also gives you insight into the condition of the coat and skin. Keep a close eye on any inflammation, bumps, and swelling. Bring your pet in for an exam if they are:

  • Extremely itchy
  • Excessive scratching
  • Biting one area repeatedly
  • Twitching
  • Shaking the head
  • Showing signs of stress, pain, or anxiety
  • Developing red, raw, or bald spots

Parasite Prevention All Year Long?

Many pet owners subscribe to the idea that parasite prevention isn’t necessary between, say, November to March. Certainly, it’s less common to see bugs after the first frost, but because of the life cycle of many parasites, they can live in a dormant stage throughout the winter (even inside the home!). They wake up and become active in the spring and have the ability to wreak havoc on a pet before they’ve started their medication.

That’s why we recommend a year-round approach to parasite prevention. We’re happy to discuss the process with you during your pet’s next wellness exam. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions!

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Urban Bugs: Parasite Prevention in the City

parasite prevention in the cityIt makes sense to assume city-dwelling pets are generally healthier than rural ones. They don’t typically find themselves spending long hours in bordering farms or fields, wandering far from home. Urban pets also usually have quicker, easier access to veterinary care.

Sure, city-dwelling pets have a lot going for them. However, that doesn’t mean we can ignore the risks from parasites. If you’ve ever wondered about parasite prevention in the city and whether it’s a major part of overall health and longevity, we can assure you it is!

Truth in Numbers

When we look at the sheer number of animals living close together in a city, the focus is certainly on disease prevention. Urban pets may be separated by floors and walls, but they definitely share common spaces like hallways, entries, sidewalks, and enclosed yards. As a result, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and distemper are natural components of any urban pet’s vaccination schedule.

Pests vs. Pets

Most pet owners are proactive about vaccinations because they value the importance of protecting their animals from dangerous, contagious illnesses. While city-living pets may have fewer encounters with wild, disease-carrying predators, they can undoubtedly be exposed to disease via other common city-dwellers: rodents.

Shifting Focus

In general, city pets don’t have grassy lawns to roll around in, compost piles, standing water puddles to lap up, or brushy undergrowths to explore. This might limit the incidence of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, but these parasites are still found in urban areas. In some cities, heartworm-carrying mosquitoes are more prevalent than in nearby wide open areas (thanks, in part, to the high heat and humidity).

Don’t be Fooled

As for the areas that seem to attract rodents and other feral animals that harbor parasites, it’s a good idea for your pet to stay away. It only takes a second for a tick to attach itself or a flea to jump onto your pet’s body. Common wildlife to watch out for includes:

  • Mice or rats
  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Other cats and dogs

As they pass through shady, dark, overgrown areas or passageways next to trash bins, pets can pick up fleas hatched from eggs dropped by other animals. Similarly, puddles or any standing water can have heartworm-carrying mosquitoes seeking their next blood meal.

If a rodent gets into an apartment, it can bring fleas and/or eggs and leave them to wreak havoc on a pet and their home. Ticks can also be dropped from one animal to another, and they’re responsible for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Parasite Prevention in the City

We recommend keeping pets on a year-round parasite prevention schedule. This will keep your city-dwelling pet safe from heartworm, tick-borne diseases, and the heartache and frustration associated with fleas. Plus, parasite prevention the city also keeps you and your family safe from roundworms, hookworms, and other zoonotic parasites.

In addition, keeping an urban dwelling clean, maintaining grooming habits, and establishing rules about off-limits areas can all keep parasite prevention in the city a priority.

Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns. We’re always here for you!

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Things Dogs Eat: The Problem With Pica in Pets

Dog Eating Grass

Has your pet ever eaten anything you don’t consider to be edible? Those of us with dogs, and some cats, can attest to this activity. And most of the time, our reaction is one of dismay, bewilderment, or even disgust. Unfortunately our pets just don’t seem to mind our protests, no matter how vehement!

Pica is the consumption of non-food substances. Coprophagy, the technical term for the eating of feces, is one of the most common forms of pica in dogs. Both coprophagia and pica in general can cause problems for pets, and sometimes are the result of an underlying medical condition.

West Park Animal Hospital gets questions about pica in pets often, so we thought we’d dig in (ahem) to this topic.

The Pica Problem

With pica, a pet eats inedible objects such as toys, rocks, grass, and sticks. Cats are more likely to consume kitty litter, string, dental floss, and clothing.

The problem with pica is that the items consumed can cause serious blockage in the digestive tract. These items may either get tangled in the sensitive intestine, or be unable to pass, resulting in major illness followed by emergency surgery or endoscopy.

Signs that your pet may be experiencing a GI blockage include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Straining to pass stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy

What Causes Pica in Pets?

Most cases of pica in pets are behavioral in nature. Still, it’s important to rule out any medical conditions such as malnutrition, liver disease, anemia, and parasites. Once we know your pet is eating non food items for behavioral reasons, we can start to look at causes and prevention.

Common behavioral reasons for pica include:

  • Boredom
  • Learned behavior
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Fear of punishment (in the case of stool eating, eliminating the evidence of an accident in the house may help the dog avoid being punished)

In most cases, pica does not go away on it’s own. It’s often a compulsive behavior, regardless of how it started or the reasons for it.

Treatment and Prevention of Pica

If there isn’t an underlying medical condition, the following measures can be taken to help prevent pica and treat the behavioral issue.

  • Make sure your pet is getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Ask us about your dog’s breed, age, and lifestyle for recommendations. Most dogs need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day – hunting and sporting breeds need much more.
  • Consider environmental enrichment such as food puzzles, games, and a dog walker if you are away from home a lot to decrease boredom
  • Eliminate access to objects that your dog may eat
  • Consider training your dog to wear a basket muzzle, if she eats objects in the yard. Never leave a muzzled dog unattended.
  • Leash walk your dog and distract him from eating objects or poop with treats and praise. Teach him the “leave it” command.
  • Try covering the objects with a bitter apple spray or cayenne pepper.
  • Provide lots of safe toys and chewing objects that your pet can’t swallow.
  • If your pet continues to eat foreign objects, consider a referral to a veterinary behaviorist who can help you get to the root of your pet’s behavior

In most cases, the treatment and prevention of pica will be an ongoing project. Follow up visits may be necessary. However, prevention is certainly preferable compared with life-threatening illness and emergency surgery (and recovery) to remove foreign material from your pet’s digestive tract.

If you have questions about your pet eating foreign objects or want to discuss their behavior, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. West Park Animal Hospital is here for you!

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Snork, Honk, Wheeze: Is Reverse Sneezing in Pets Normal?

Our pets do so many adorable and endearing things, it would take forever to list them all. Occasionally, however, they surprise or even frighten us with a behavior that comes from seemingly nowhere.

One such phenomenon is the honking, gagging, wheezing sound, known as “reverse sneezing,” which is surprisingly common among dogs and cats (to a lesser degree).

While mostly safe, reverse sneezing in pets can produce an unpleasant and distressing sound. To know when this is normal and when it may indicate a health concern, it’s important that all pet owners learn more about this peculiar behavior.

Reverse Sneezing in Pets

Reverse sneezing in pets, also called “pharyngeal gag reflex” or “inspiratory paroxysmal respiration,” is believed to occur due to an irritation of the nasopharynx (the area behind the nasal cavities and above the soft palate). Anything can trigger a reverse sneeze, such as eating or drinking, viruses/bacteria, pollen, strong odors, exercise/leash-pulling, or foreign objects caught in the nose or throat. The reverse sneeze acts as a way to expel the irritant out of the nasopharynx, much like a regular sneeze clears the nasal passages of dust or debris.

A Deeper Issue

The occasional bout of reverse sneezing in pets is usually nothing to worry about, and some pets (especially short-nosed breeds) are simply more prone to it than others. However, persistent or excessive bouts of reverse sneezing warrant a trip to the veterinarian to rule out medical issues, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Nasal mites (parasites that infest the nasal passages of dogs)
  • Laryngeal paralysis (more common in older pets)
  • Tumors or growths in the nose, throat, and nearby structures
  • Foreign body obstruction (such as grass awns)
  • Collapsing trachea (a condition more common in smaller dogs)
  • Asthma in cats

Getting Help

If you’re concerned about your pet’s reverse sneezing, try capturing it on video and bringing it in for us to see. It can be difficult (or impossible) to trigger a sneezing episode in our office, so recording it can help us to diagnose your pet and develop an effective treatment plan. Depending on the cause of your pet’s reverse sneezing, we may discuss medications, surgery, allergy treatments, and home care options.

Ensuring your pet’s health and comfort is our top priority. Please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at West Park Animal Hospital for more information or to schedule an appointment for your pet.

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Sneezy, Wheezy, and Snorey: Feline Asthma and Other Cat Breathing Noises

Vet listening to a cat's breathing with stethoscope

If your cat is suddenly making noise while breathing that you aren’t used to hearing, you may be understandably concerned. While the occasional kitty sneeze or sniffle can be adorable, many times changes in breathing noises can indicate a problem.

So how is a pet owner to know whether a cat-sized wheeze is just a one-off or something more serious like feline asthma? Thankfully, you aren’t expected to have all the answers. This is where your friends at West Park Animal Hospital come in.

 

Feline Asthma and Other Breathing Problems

There are many possibilities when it comes to reasons why your cat’s breathing may sound a little different than normal. Some problems are more common than others, and many can look similar without further investigation.

Some of the more common causes of changes in breathing we see in cats include:

Cardiac problems — A congenital heart condition or one that develops over time such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can lead to fluid build up in the lungs. This can result in noisy or labored breathing and sometimes coughing or retching.

Feline asthma Just like in people, some cats’ lower airways can become inflamed when triggered by allergens, resulting in wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Laryngitis — Infectious processes, trauma, and even tumors can cause inflammation in the back of the throat, resulting in breathing changes.

Lung disease — A problem in the actual lungs such as pneumonia can certainly lead to heavy, noisy breathing.

Obesity — Increases in weight can lead to increased respiratory noise and even apnea, especially in animals that may already have narrowed airways, such as brachycephalic breeds like Persians.

Nasopharyngeal polyps — Any tumor growing in the back of the throat can lead to increased respiratory noise. In cats most commonly these are benign nasopharyngeal polyps.

Parasites — Unwelcome parasite infections like feline heartworms and lungworms can wreak havoc on the lungs, resulting in breathing abnormalities.

Upper respiratory infection — Perhaps the most common reason we see cats, many bacterial and viral infections can cause upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes in the feline species.

When to Call Us

When you notice a little wheeze or sneeze in your cat, it can sometimes be hard to decide whether or not it warrants a trip in to see us. While the occasional hack or snore can be normal, please call us if:

  • The abnormal noise(s) persist more than a few hours
  • The noise(s) are new
  • They are accompanied by ocular or nasal discharge
  • Your cat’s breathing is labored
  • Your cat is panting like a dog
  • The symptoms are accompanied by abnormal behaviors like hiding, not eating, or decreased activity
  • Your cat is coughing
  • The gums and/or tongue appear blue or gray
  • Your pet appears to be in distress

You can also monitor your pet’s resting respiratory rate at home. This can be an important tool when deciding if your pet needs immediate attention or not, and can help us to hone in on a diagnosis.

Breathing noises in cats can sometimes be normal, but it is always best to err on the side of safety. With an accurate diagnosis, even more serious problems such as feline asthma are manageable. So when your cat sniffles, sneezes, or coughs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. The sooner we diagnose the problem, the sooner we can get your cat back to normal.

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Beneath the Surface: Common Skin Conditions in Dogs

White dog smelling dandelions in grass

Just like in humans, a dog’s skin is their largest organ, and it plays an incredible role in their overall health. Whether it’s regulating body temperature, creating vitamin D, or providing a critical line of defense against pathogens, the skin is truly an amazing thing!

That’s why when the skin is impacted by health issues, major problems can arise. According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, skin conditions in dogs are among the top reasons they’re seen by a veterinarian, so it’s important to take the health of your pet’s skin seriously. After all, when the skin suffers, your dog suffers, too!

 

Skin Conditions in Dogs

The most common skin conditions in dogs that we see here at West Park Animal Hospital include:

  • Allergies – Allergies to pollen, mold, chemicals, food, or fleas often manifest as skin conditions in dogs. An allergic pet may excessively lick, paw, or chew at the face, ears, paws, or groin area.
  • Infection – A breakdown in the immune system can lead to an increased chance of bacterial or fungal infection.
  • External parasites – Fleas, skin mites (mange), and lice (specific to dogs) can all cause itchy skin. A dog who’s allergic to flea saliva can suffer a severe reaction from just one bite.
  • Dryness – Dryness can manifest as itching, flaking, dull coat, and/or cracked skin.
  • Atopic dermatitis – This severely itchy condition can occur when the immune system has weakened due to allergies or other causes. The intense scratching and licking put your pet at risk for skin infections known as hot spots.
  • Lumps and bumps – Cysts, benign fatty tumors, and malignancies can all occur on or just below the surface of your pet’s skin.

Helping and Healing

The good news is that much of your dog’s skin health is in your hands. The following tips can help boost your pup’s immune system and protect them from environmental factors that can trigger skin issues:

  • Adhere to your dog’s regularly scheduled wellness visits and any lab work your veterinarian recommends.
  • Make sure your dog is on a year-round flea preventive medication, even if they have no history of fleas.
  • Groom your dog on a regular basis to evenly distribute oils in the skin and remove accumulated allergens in the fur.
  • Feed them a high-quality diet, and ask your vet about omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Vacuum, dust, and wash your pet’s bedding frequently. This can help lower the amount of allergens in your home.

Skin conditions in dogs can be incredibly frustrating, but the team at West Park Animal Hospital is here for you every step of the way. Together, we can develop a plan to reduce your pet’s symptoms and restore their health and vitality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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Sick as a Dog: Can You Catch a Cold From Your Pet?

The simple answer to this question is yes, but it is extremely rare.

If you and your cat or dog are both sick at the same time, you may think you caught a cold from your pet, or vice versa. Some symptoms are certainly similar. An Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), usually referred to in humans as the common cold, is caused by any number of different viruses. However, the viruses that cause cold-like symptoms in humans, dogs, and cats rarely jump from one species to another.

What Is A Cold?

When people talk about “catching a cold”, they are actually referring to any number of different viruses or bacteria. They are all grouped together as “a cold” due to the similar symptoms they produce. In people, the most common cold virus is the rhinovirus, but there are many, many others that can cause us to feel sick.

In dogs and cats, symptoms of a cold are caused in a similar manner. There is not one specific virus, but rather a variety of viruses and bacteria that all cause cold symptoms in dogs and cats. Some of these are more serious than others, which is why you should treat your dog or cat’s URI with a bit more caution than you would your own cold.

Signs of A Cold in Dogs and Cats

Common cold symptoms in pets include:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Clear or colored nasal discharge
  • Wheezing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever

These symptoms could be the signs of a cold, but could also be signs of a more serious condition.  If any of your pets are experiencing these symptoms, contact your veterinarian. While a mild cold is most likely not a cause for concern, it’s important to rule out any other underlying issues that may be at play.

Also noteworthy is that although your pets may recover just fine, URIs are generally extremely contagious. If your pet has any signs of being ill, it’s best to keep them home so they don’t infect other animals.

Can I Catch A Cold From My Pet?

To address the very rare instances when it’s possible to catch a cold or flu from your pet, we will look at a few instances.

In cats, most URI viral and bacterial agents are highly contagious only to other cats. But there are some strains that can also affect dogs and even some that are considered zoonotic (can be transmitted to humans). Bordetella bronchiseptica has been known to be transmitted between dogs and cats, and rarely, to humans.

The influenza virus gets headlines for crossing species lines, but in reality, this is very rare. An avian strain (H2N7) recently was noted to infect shelter cats in New York City, and was determined to infect one shelter veterinarian as well.

Conjunctivitis in cats can be caused by the chlamydia bacteria, resulting in severe inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. There have been a few cases reported of the chlamydia bacteria being transmitted from cats to people, so good handwashing practices are in order if your cat has this disease.

Again, these instances are extremely rare. To date, there is no evidence of a contagious virus that causes upper respiratory infection that can cross species lines. However, viruses are constantly mutating and there may come a day when such a virus exists.

Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonotic diseases can be a concern, even if catching a cold from your pet is not. A few best practices are in order.

  • Keep hands clean
  • Wash and sanitize food and water bowls regularly
  • Remove pet stool promptly
  • Prevent pet parasites
  • Clean your pet’s bedding regularly
  • Use extra caution with children and farm animals, including at petting zoos and fairs

If you have concerns about your own health, please don’t hesitate to contact your physician. And if you have any questions about your pet’s health or well-being, we’re happy to answer them. Please call your team at West Park Animal Hospital or schedule an appointment today.

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New to Pet Ownership? These Helpful Hacks Will Get You on Track

Pet ownership is rewarding and wonderful

Pet owners are very lucky people. They get a daily dose of unconditional love, entertainment, and oodles of cuddles (not to mention the health benefits that stem from this special relationship, as well!). To be sure, the perks are great, but if you’re new to pet ownership, caring for an animal can sometimes be a guessing game. In other words, the learning curve can be a little steep.

To get you over the hump, the team at West Park Animal Hospital has gathered some real-life hacks to help you fully embrace the wonderful joys of pet ownership.

The Necessities

Obviously, pets require proper nutrition, bedding, toys, and ample opportunities for mental and physical stimulation. However, the foundation of responsible pet ownership must also include:

Hacks to Make it Easier

Establishing a routine is critical. Set regular meal times, bathroom breaks (puppies need extra help with this), playtimes, and bedtimes. When your pet can anticipate what comes next, they’ll be better behaved.

Pet Ownership

When it comes to pet ownership, we all grapple with finding solutions to seemingly impossible problems. For example:

  • Smells and stains – Accidents on the carpet can and will happen. Don’t let it get you down! Simply soak the stain with white vinegar and a generous amount of baking soda. Cover the area and let dry. Vacuum up the baking soda, and marvel at your clean carpet!
  • Fur/hair – Pet hair can be a real problem (especially for owners of golden retrievers and Persian cats). Always keep a lint roller in your car, backpack, or purse. Also, shower squeegees and/or dryer sheets can work wonders when applied to upholstery. Wet rubber gloves are great at picking up hairs that are embedded in fabric. Regular brushing and grooming can minimize shedding.
  • Storage – Between all your pet’s toys, gear, food, and bedding, you’ll probably need a smart solution for storage. Some people install stainless steel shower caddies in hall closets to organize poop baggies, toys, and other products. Similarly, storage cubes or baskets can help declutter your home. Food can easily be stored in cereal containers.
  • Behaviors – Some pets need a little help learning how to behave, but they still have to heed their instincts. For instance, a dog who likes to dig might enjoy their own digging box. Keep your pup out of the cat’s litter box by raising it up off the floor and turning the opening toward a wall or corner. Provide scratching posts, climbing structures, and perches for your kitty. You may find that your pet comes unglued during thunderstorms or fireworks. Be prepared by teaching them their crate is a safe, secure place.

If you have additional questions or concerns about pet ownership, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always here for you and your pet. Good luck!

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Mange in Pets and What You Need to Know

Mange is a serious skin condition in pets

While the word “mange” may strike panic into the hearts of many a pet owner, not everyone truly understands what this term means. Before you jump to conclusions that your itchy pet must have this condition, West Park Animal Hospital wants you to know what goes into diagnosing mange in pets.

Mange in Pets

When we refer to mange in pets, we are actually talking about a skin infection caused by mites. These mites make their homes on the skin of our pets, interrupting normal skin and hair function and resulting in many of the symptoms we can see outwardly.

There are a few different types of mange, all of which result in hair loss. The most common kinds of mange that we see in pets include:

Sarcoptic mange — This contagious form of mange is caused by the Sarcoptes mite. Its presence causes itchy areas and hair loss, especially on the ears, under belly, and face. It spreads by direct contact, and while sarcoptic mange is species specific, it can temporarily infect humans. A person who has an infection with the mite is diagnosed with scabies.

Demodectic mange — Probably the more frequently diagnosed, mange caused by the Demodex mite is often seen in young animals or pets with a lessened immune system. This is because the mite can be present in small numbers normally, but will overgrow given the opportunity. This type of mange causes hair loss and scaly patches but is much less itchy. It is also not typically contagious.

Notoedric mange — Not to forget our feline friends, the Notoedres mite can cause an itchy cat with lesions around the face and ears.

Mange is often diagnosed through microscopic examination of samples obtained by scraping the skin. Sometimes, however, it is diagnosed by response to empirical treatment if it is suspected but not able to be proven.

Beyond the Mangy Mutt

While mange in pets is quick to receive the blame for many skin conditions, it’s important to realize that there’s is a long list of potential causes for itching, hair loss, scales, bumps, and smelly skin. Please make an appointment with us as soon as you discover your pet is having skin issues so that we can get started on a diagnosis and treatment plan.

When an animal patient is having dermatological issues, a physical examination is in order. From there diagnostic tests are essential to ruling problems in or out. Common skin issues can include those caused by:

  • Allergic dermatitis (environmental allergies in pets)
  • Food allergies
  • Parasites (fleas, mange, lice)
  • Endocrine conditions (hypothyroidism, Cushings syndrome)
  • Bacterial skin infections
  • Fungal skin infections
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Neoplasia

We absolutely diagnose mange in our patients, but it is impossible to accurately distinguish many of these conditions from one another without diagnostics. Don’t let your pet be uncomfortable. Bring them in immediately so that we can help.

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Splish, Splash, Safe: Dog Water Safety 101

Dog Holding Onto Poolside After SwimSummer may be halfway over, but that doesn’t mean we’re packing up the sunscreen or covering the grill just yet. Spending the day at the lake or pool is still on the agenda for many families, and bringing a water-loving dog along adds another layer of fun.

Even if your dog is a true beach bum or poolside pup, good dog water safety is a must. Keep the following tips in mind for a fun, safe, and successful day on the water with your four-legged family member.

Dog Water Safety 101

Protecting your pet against drowning and other water-related dangers form the basis of dog water safety.

  • Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and even those who are can get overly tired, swim too far out, or get trapped in the water. Always supervise your dog while in or around water; consider using a canine life vest for added safety.
  • Deep water, such as Lake Erie, is often quite cold and can be dangerous to dogs. A good rule of thumb: if the water’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
  • Lakeshores, river beds, and even pool decks can be littered with refuse that can injure your pet’s paw pads. Keep an eye out for broken glass, fishing hooks, sharp rocks or sticks, and other debris that could pose a danger.
  • Parasites and contagious diseases are seemingly everywhere. Make sure your dog is current on vaccinations and parasite prevention prior to taking a dip.

The Heat is On

Although being in the water helps your pet stay cool, they’re still at risk for heat-related dangers. Protect against dehydration and heatstroke with regular breaks in the shade. Also provide plenty of cool, fresh drinking water (discourage drinking from the lake or pool water, which can be toxic to pets). If you notice any signs of heat-related illness, such as excessive panting or drooling, weakness, lethargy, or pale/bright red gums, give us a call immediately.

Keep “Petiquette” in Mind

Whether you’re in the water or not, a little bit of basic courtesy goes a long way toward keeping your dog and others safe:

  • Keep your dog leashed at all times when out of the water. Don’t allow them to investigate wildlife or other people or pets.
  • Keep people food away from your dog, and dispose of all food-related trash immediately.
  • Last but not least, scoop that poop!

Packing Up

Dog water safety doesn’t end when it’s time to pack up and go home. Before you jump in the car, rinse your pet with clean water, and towel dry their fur thoroughly; pay special attention to the face and ears. Check your pet’s skin for any external parasites, and inspect their paw pads for injuries.  

Please let us know if you have additional questions about dog water safety. We hope you have a wonderful summer!

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