It finally feels like spring! The warmer weather brings opportunities for our pets, especially our dogs, to be out and about on more adventures. There are a few things you should keep in mind before you head out together for that picnic or hike. First of all, please remember pets should not be left alone in the car. The pleasant, warm weather makes a car unbearably hot in a very short period of time. Pets left in warm cars are at risk of heat stroke. In addition, keep in mind how quickly the sun warms the pavement. Always place the back of your hand on the ground to feel how hot the pavement is before heading out for a walk. If it is too hot for a few seconds to your touch, it is too hot for your dog’s feet. Try to plan most of your pet’s exercise either during the morning or evening hours and avoid the hottest part of the day.
Warm weather also brings out other potential hazards. Rattlesnakes are prominent in the greater Sacramento area, especially this year. If your dog spends a lot of time outside along the river, in fields, or other snake habitat consider vaccinating your dog to slow the progression of envenomation toxicity if he or she should become bit. The vaccine we offer prepares the dog’s immune system if it should ever come in contact the venom of the western diamondback rattlesnake. Initially two vaccines are needed, followed by yearly boosters. This allows the pet’s owner a little more time to seek medical attention for their pet. Another option is to consider hiring a professional for rattlesnake aversion training. Aversion training has proven to be very beneficial in protecting pets from rattlesnakes. The best option for dogs that hunt, hike or camp might be aversion training in combination with the rattlesnake vaccine.
Animals are not the only hazard this time of year. Dried foxtail plants cause many pets, both dogs and outdoor cats, to need medical attention. This time of year we often see pets with foxtails affecting the paws, ears, eyes, nose, throats, etc. You should limit your pet’s exposure to areas containing foxtails and always check your pet over after being outside.
As always, if your pet has taken a break from heartworm prevention and/or flea and tick prevention the time to restart is NOW. Heartworm disease is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is a preventable disease with either a monthly chew, tablet, or injection given in our office. For flea and tick control we have many options: oral chews, topicals, or flea/tick collars. Only use flea and tick products on cats that are labeled for cats. Never put a product intended for dogs on a cat.
Taking some precautions before heading out on your next adventure can ensure that you all have a good time. Enjoy spending time with your pet during these warmer months. We hope you have many adventures together and create lasting memories!