Q: What can I do to make sure my dog doesn’t get too hot in the summer time?

A: It is hot outside right now and keeping your pets from overheating is a very important job!

You must never leave your pet unattended in your car during the hot hours of the day. The temperature inside a car can get into triple digits very quickly and our pets cannot cool themselves with sweating, so they will overheat very quickly. Even mild overheating can cause internal damage, and extreme overheating will quickly lead to death. Please be aware that cracking the windows is not enough to allow for cooling inside the car during the hot months.

Some signs of overheating are excessive panting, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and coma. If you suspect that your pet has overheated you are going to want to cool it down but you must not cool an animal too quickly.

Pouring water on them, taking them to a cooler environment and offering water to drink are all ways to try and cool off an animal. Do not let them drink too much water though as that can cause them to vomit which exacerbates the dehydration.

If you feel that your pet has suffered from excessive heat exposure then you must get your pet to a veterinarian as quickly as possible as heat stroke can be fatal in animals.

During the hot parts of the day, you should provide adequate shade and water so that your pet can stay as cool as possible. Some dogs love a baby pool full of cool water that they can play in when temperatures gets hot. You might also consider shaving your dog in the summer if they have a very thick hair coat so that they aren’t covered with a fur coat in the hot months!

I also recommend walking and hiking with your pets early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures are not as high. Make sure you are carrying water not only for yourself but also for your pet. There are handy travel bowls you can hike with that let you have a container to pour water into for your dog during the hike. Consider hiking somewhere near water such as a stream or lake so that your pet can go swimming to cool off.

A: How important is flea and tick prevention in northern Arizona?

Q: There are many benefits to living where we do such as the beautiful scenery and wonderful outdoor activities. We are also very lucky because fleas are not an issue compared to other states such as California. However, we do have our fair share of ticks in our environment.

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Ticks are small arachnids that are found all over the world in all sorts of different environments. There are hundreds of different species and they feed by attaching to mammal skin and drinking blood. Ticks can come in all different shapes and sizes and sometimes can attach and feed on a dog without the owner ever seeing it, especially if your pet has a long hair coat.

The worst aspect of ticks is that they carry a multitude of tick borne diseases that can make humans and pets very sick. Some of the most common are Lyme’s disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichia. These diseases can cause mild to severe clinical signs such as pain, lethargy, fever and general malaise. There are tick blood panels that can be run if tick disease is suspected but they are very expensive and not always diagnostic.

For the most part, treating tick disease requires a long course of a specific antibiotic but some tick disease can never be cleared from the system and will flare intermittently.

Therefore, I highly recommend applying a tick preventative medication to stop ticks from attaching to your pets!

Dr. Julianne Miller is a Flagstaff veterinarian. She can be reached at drmiller@canyonpet.com.


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