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Make the Most of this Summer with Our Summer Safety Tips

Summer is the best season to be a dog! The sunshine and great weather lead to endless possibilities of fun outdoor activities. From doggie paddling on a beach summer vacation to leaping through the woods, summer is dog-gone fun!

As a dog owner, you probably have some summer activities prepared. If not, you might still have a few summertime ideas in mind for your next adventure. Help your dog start her summer off on the right paw and keep her safe with some of our summer safety tips.

1. Be mindful of the temperature: keep your dog hydrated and limit her time in the midday sun.

When the temperature rises, you want your dog to have fun in the sun. Most importantly, you don’t want your dog to feel the heat.

To keep your dog cool this summer:

  • Always have cool, clean water available for her to drink. This includes in the backyard or if you plan on going on a hike or road trip, always bring a water dish and fresh water.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car during the heat of the day, even with the windows rolled down.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke and be prepared to bring her in if you think she’s experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • Test the temperature of the sidewalk or road before you walk your dog. Place your hand down. If it’s too hot for you to hold your hand on for less than 10 seconds, don’t let your dog walk on it. She might burn her paw pads.
  • Avoid the risk of heat stroke or paw pad burns by walking your dog in the morning and evening.
  • Use zinc-free sunblock on your dog’s nose before spending time outside. If your dog has fine fur, you may want to rub some into her back, too.

2. Take some precautions before letting your dog doggie paddle this summer.

Not all dogs know how to swim and others aren’t physically cut out to be the next Michael Phelps. If you have a Pug, Boston Terrier, Frenchie, or Bulldog, you will want to suit your pup up with a life vest.

Take your time and teach your dog to swim. Go slowly and enter the water with her. Never throw your dog into a pool, from a boat or dock. This is traumatizing to your pup and can lead to a fear of water.

And if you’re considering taking your pup fishing, don’t leave fishing hooks or lures lying around, and use caution when you cast.

3. Keep her vaccinations up-to-date before heading to the dog park.

The dog park is a blast, especially during summer. There are so many tails wagging that it’s one of the best places to spend your summer mornings or evenings. Dog parks help your dog learn important social skills, but the dog park also comes with some risks.

Dog waste can spread illness. Dogs that are out of date on their vaccines can be vulnerable to getting ill or spread bacteria, getting other pups sick. Leptospirosis spreads at the dog park through urine or secondary contact with infected urine. Don’t let your dog drink standing water at the dog park or elsewhere. Give yourself peace of mind, and ask us about the vaccine that can prevent your pup from getting leptospirosis.

It’s important to remember that while you may be an amazing dog owner, others may not be as vigilant. We often hear about dogs that bring fleas and ticks home from the dog park. This puts pups at risk of tapeworms and Lyme disease. Avoid the risk of your dog collecting hitchhikers while enjoying the summer festivities. Make sure she’s protected from fleas and ticks with preventative medicine.

"The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment," according to Robert Falcon Scott. Help your dog make the most of each moment while keeping her safe.

This year, make memories and make the most of summer while keeping your canine companion out of trouble. If your dog is due for a checkup, don’t hesitate to call us to make an appointment. We can help you and your family make the most of summer with a healthy and happy dog.

 

Image credit: Pixabay

 

Prevention and Treatment of Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm can have devastating consequences for your pet, including death. It is especially tragic when dogs and cats succumb to heartworm disease when it’s entirely preventable. Now that warm weather is finally here, your dog or cat has a much greater likelihood of acquiring heartworm just by being outside since the most common route of transmission is a bite from an infected mosquito. However, pets can pick up the heartworm parasite any time of year. This is the reason we recommend year-round heartworm protection at Westgate Pet Clinic.

Heartworm Prevention and Testing

Although it's more common for dogs to get heartworm disease because they make an ideal host and typically spend more time outdoors, it’s important to understand that cats get heartworm as well. Unfortunately, for our feline friends no effective heartworm treatment exists for cats who test positive.

Puppies should start preventive medication for heartworm by eight weeks old. While it isn’t necessary to test puppies that young before starting on a product, puppies over six months old do require testing. Puppies and dogs need only one simple blood test to determine the presence of heartworm. Similarly, cats should be started on a heartworm preventive once they are eight weeks old.

Common Signs of Heartworm Infestation

When dogs acquire heartworm, the parasite usually lives in the heart and the right ventricle. This produces the following types of symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

It’s also possible that your pet won’t show any indication of heartworm even when he has them. Sadly, the first indication of heartworm in some pets can be sudden collapse and death. All pets should have year-round heartworm protection, even those who never go outside. It’s too easy for mosquitoes to get into your home and infect them.

If you suspect that your dog or cat has heartworm based on these symptoms, please schedule an appointment at Westgate Pet Clinic right away. We will complete testing and discuss treatment options if results come back positive.

It’s Easier to Prevent Heartworm Than Treat It

We’re happy to let you know that we carry many heartworm prevention products in our clinic and online store. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like a recommendation on the most effective product for your pet. You can schedule an appointment by calling our clinic at (612) 925-1121.

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.

 
 
 

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Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Directions to Our Clinic
(612)925-1121
(612)925-6297 Fax
(612)568-1405 Pharmacy

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