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Summer Safety Tips Series

Summer Safety Tips Series

Warm Weather

While summertime may mean fun in the sun for us humans, the same can't be said for our pets. Dr. Michele Drake discusses the dangers of warm weather and how to keep our pets safe when the temps rise.

Featured Quote:

What I recommend to people is just simply to avoid the heat and especially be aware when we have humidity that dogs can't cool themselves well. I never recommend mountain biking or roller skating with your dog alongside unless they've had a ton of training and you're in an area that's super safe, and you and your dog both have had a lot of training on this.

 

Video Transcript:

Finally, the last thing I want to talk about, which is a super important thing and probably something I'm so concerned about, I see it all the time, is heat. What people don't seem to understand is that dogs don't sweat. If it's kind of warm and humid for us, it's way too warm and humid for your dogs. They don't sweat. What I always want to tell people is like, go out on a hike with Saran wrap on and see how well you can cool yourself. Not that it's that severe for dogs, but it's similar to that.

What I recommend to people is just simply to avoid the heat and especially be aware when we have humidity that dogs can't cool themselves well. I never recommend mountain biking or roller skating with your dog alongside unless they've had a ton of training and you're in an area that's super safe, and you and your dog both have had a lot of training on this. When I see people ride with their dogs alongside, it's really tough. The dogs will exercise themselves to death, they'll actually do anything they can to keep up with you and will get to the point of heat exhaustion and can die from this. We see it every summer in the practice, something that really could be avoided.

The things about heat, again, just to be aware is make sure you have water with your dog, go in times when it's not quite so warm out, bring water so they can drink every 15 minutes, let them cool off. If they start to get overheated, you're going to see them really panting really with a really wide mouth, and those are signs that they are getting overheated. The normal temperature for a dog is 101, and when we've seen dogs in severe heat stress, they get up to 109, and this is when they start to actually fry their organs and their brain. They will do that if you run them hard or have them chasing you or just out on a hot day and they're not in shape.

Again, if dogs are super fit, just kind of like people, and they're out doing some exercise and they're used to it, they can handle a little bit more, but if this is a weekend warrior dog or a dog that's overweight, be especially careful with the heat.

One other thing about heat is the pavement and the sidewalks and such do really heat up in the summer, and their little feet don't have any special protection against the heat. If you can't put your own foot on it, it's too warm for your dog's pads. Otherwise they're going to get burnt and abraded, and that's really painful for the dog because they can't, of course, get away from having burn feet. Just be careful with that. Be careful, talk to the kids, if the kids are taking them out, to have them be careful with being on the hot pavement, and especially if the kids are taking the dogs out on hikes and such, just to have a conversation with them beforehand to make sure the dogs are safe.

 

Water Safety

The summer season is never complete without a trip to the beach! Before you take your pup out to enjoy the water, Dr. Michele Drake has some helpful tips to keep your pup safe while around bodies of water. 

Featured Quote:

Dogs can drown, and they do drown when the surf is up, or if they get really exhausted, or they get a little disoriented out in the water. So, especially, just be cautious when they're out swimming in the ocean. In lakes, same thing, make sure that you know where your dog is, that they can get back out.  

 

Video Transcript:

One more thing to talk about is water safety. In the summer we take our dogs to the beach, and lakes and such, and there's a lot of dogs that are great swimmers, but sometimes these dogs really haven't been out in the water very much. Or a dog like this, he would actually jump in the water. He can swim okay, but he really would not know how to manage waves any better than say a young kid would.

Dogs can drown, and they do drown when the surf is up, or if they get really exhausted, or they get a little disoriented out in the water. So, especially, just be cautious when they're out swimming in the ocean. In lakes, same thing, make sure that you know where your dog is, that they can get back out. And certainly with pools, the biggest thing with pools is when dogs do get in the water and they can't find their way out, to get out of the pool. So make sure you train them on where the steps are.

And older dogs, the biggest problem we have with older dogs and water safety, is them falling in the pool as they age, and they can't see as well. They're not as stable, they're a little wobbly, and they may fall in the pool accidentally that way, and don't have the same muscle strength to get themselves back out of the pool. Just some water safety things to be aware of, and have fun.

 

Rattlesnakes

Encinitas and surrounding cities are home to scenic hiking and biking trails. You may not know that San Diego County is also home to various species of rattlesnakes. Common on many hiking trials, rattlesnakes can pose a real danger to both your pets and yourself. Dr. Michele Drake discusses rattlesnakes and how to avoid them

Featured Quote:

So the most important thing for being on trails this time of year is to keep your dog on a leash. And the benefit for you with that is you have better control of your dog so they don't get in a tussle with another dog, but certainly we don't want them to be bitten by a rattlesnake. 

 

Video Transcript:

So the next thing I want to talk about is rattlesnakes. I go on the trails, again, on my mountain bike about three times a week, and I'm to the point right now where I'm seeing a rattlesnake pretty much every day that I'm out. I've seen a lot of babies and some mature snakes also, mostly babies at this time of year. Seems like I see the more adult snakes a little bit later on in the year. Not sure why that is.

But anyway, what happens with dogs is they're just curious, they smell it, they see it, and they just go to sniff the snake as a dog of course would do, and when they stick their nose down there, the rattlesnake, which is not certain what they're going to do, and they will strike at their nose.

So the most important thing for being on trails this time of year is to keep your dog on a leash. I mean, I think in this park they're supposed to be on a leash all the time anyway, probably most parks around suburbia they should be on a leash anyway. And the benefit for you with that is you have better control of your dog so they don't get in a tussle with another dog, but certainly we don't want them to be bitten by a rattlesnake. So we keep them on a leash, they're not going to get bit by a rattlesnake, you're going to see it well before they do if you keep your eyes peeled out on the trail, which you should be doing.

 

And rattlesnakes really are not aggressive unless you mess with them, so just let it move about its way, and get out of your way. Or if it's just sitting still, then just go around it. They're not going to come after you or anything. And just keep your dog close to your leg as you pass a rattlesnake.

 

For those of you that have rattlesnakes in your yard frequently, there's certain areas, Olivenhain, Santaluz are some areas around that seem to have a really big rattlesnake problem. Some of those areas we even have you consider getting the rattlesnake vaccine. And the purpose of the vaccine is simply to help the body respond a little better to the rattlesnake venom should they be bitten by a rattlesnake. So that's just something to talk to us about, we don't recommend that across the board for all dogs, but just certainly those that have a higher risk.

 

Ticks

Summer brings many things, unfortunately blood-sucking ticks are one of them. Dr. Michele Drake discusses the common places for ticks and how to protect your pet (and yourself) from them.

Featured Quote:

Ticks are nasty. They can actually invest your home. They cause bites and can cause disease for both your pet and for you, and we just don't want them at all in your dog.

 

Video Transcript:

The next thing I want to talk about are ticks. We're having way more ticks than we used to, in general, but because of the rain, we're having even more ticks. The way ticks work is they come out when there's moisture out. So we've had a ton of moisture this year, and they live at the bottoms of grasses, like the tall grasses. They live at the bottom of the plant, even go, kind of burrow down in there, and then when it's dewy in the morning, they'll come and climb up to the end of the grasses and they'll do what's called questing. They'll put their little disgusting tick feet out there and wait for you to walk by with your pant leg or for me to ride bike with my bike, with the grasses, and attach to our pant leg, or certainly they'll do the same for your dog as they brush up against the tall grasses.

So, when you're going to mostly find ticks, this time of year we can find them anytime of the day. But as it warms up a little bit more and things dry out, they'll come out early in the morning and then later in the afternoon when we start to have some more moisture back in the air. So just be aware of that. Ticks are nasty. They can actually invest your home. They cause bites and can cause disease for both your pet and for you, and we just don't want them at all in your dog.

We have a great product called Bravecto. It's a pill that you give your dog once every three months. It's amazing. It kills all ticks that your dog will be able exposed to. It doesn't allow them to attach long enough to spread any disease and certainly is great for tick prevention in your home and certainly for your pet also. It also kills fleas, so it's just a great product and especially during this time we strongly recommend to use Bravecto if, has your dog exposed to any ticks at all.

 

Food Hazards

Planning a BBQ cook out this summer? Dr. Michele Drake shares Summer Safety Tips on what food hazards your pets should avoid.

Featured Quote:

The way you're going to notice if your dog did get into trouble, is if they're vomiting and not eating, and not feeling well, you need to get them in right away. That's a pretty serious condition if they get a blocked intestine, and we don't want to wait around, don't have a wait and see situation with that.

 

Video Transcript:

We're having some great holidays upon us, with Memorial Day coming up, and July 4th, and everybody loves to have barbecues. Which is super fun for everyone, but there some definite hazards I want you guys to think about when you have your dogs out and about, especially when you have people over at your house. Everyone's having a good time, and they're not really thinking about what the dog's doing, which is mostly, he is going to surf the table, and the floor, and the trash cans. All these areas that are not normally available to him now have lovely things like chicken bones and rib bones, and corn on the cob, they love corn on the cob.

These things are all very potentially super hazardous. Rib bones are especially bad for dogs, chicken bones can also puncture the intestines and cause problems, they can obstruct them. And corn cobs, we've taken out many corn cobs out of dogs because they love corn, and that cob just does not pass through very well. The other thing we have found a few times is the skewers, if you're using kabobs, the dogs will go ahead and eat that, especially dogs that eat everything like Goldens and Labs. They can't help themselves, these things taste good, and they swallow them up.

So just be careful when you have your dog. I would just recommend maybe keeping the dog up when the food comes out, or tying them up, or just having someone be really close to them, have them attached to one person so we make sure the dog doesn't get into things, until the three days later you're in trouble. The way you're going to notice if your dog did get into trouble, is if they're vomiting and not eating, and not feeling well, you need to get them in right away. That's a pretty serious condition if they get a blocked intestine, and we don't want to wait around, don't have a wait and see situation with that.

So have a great time with your barbecues, but just watch out for the dogs.

 

Foxtails

Summer is coming, are your pets ready? Dr. Michele Drake's Summer Safety Tips series kicks off with this week's topic on foxtails and the dangers that they pose to our pets.

 

Featured Quote:

Foxtails are these small plant structures, and they have a tendency once they dry to flake off, and they're pointy on one end, and they pretty much just move in the direction of the point. So what will happen is, as you walk, they'll get caught in between your dog's toes, and they'll start to work their self into the toes and up into the skin.

 

Video Transcript:

Morning, everyone. It's Dr. Drake from the Drake Center, a veterinary care, and I'm out here at Rancho Penesquitos, which is a beautiful park. I ride my bike out here several times a week and/or take Wilbur for a walk sometimes out here. Also a hike.

I just want to talk to you about some of the summer dangers, things to look out for and also, first of all, I wanted to congratulate everyone who's taken their dogs out, because dogs really love to go. They love to get out and make ... you know, get out and get the exercise but also sniff around and get to absorb all the fun things about nature. So, congratulations, to all of you and kudos to you for getting your dogs out on the trails.

Some of the things I'm just noticing right now, especially just a plethora of foxtails, they are everywhere. The extra rain that we had brought lots more green, but along with the green we also have lots more of weeds and scary things like that. So, foxtails, are these small plant structures, and they have a tendency once they dry to flake off, and they're pointy on one end, and they pretty much just move in the direction of the point. So what will happen is, as you walk, they'll get caught in between your dog's toes, and they'll start to work their self into the toes and up into the skin.

Now this takes several days, so what's most important is after a walk or any hikes that you go where there are foxtails around, that you go ahead and look between your dog's toes and underneath the foot also. If they have a longer hair coat then you're going to comb through that entire hair coat, because these things can actually get into the hair coat and work their selves under their skin and go even into the body ... through the body wall.

That takes quite a while, but the point is, if we miss them after it happens, they can start working their way into the skin within a day or so. We also find that they can go into the ears. When dogs stick their heads into bushes they're going into the ear. What your dog will do is they'll shake their head or hold their head like this. If a dog ever holding their head like this and shaking their head more than once or twice a day, it usually means they either have an ear infection or possibly, if you were just on the trail, they have a foxtail in their ear. These are very painful to be in the ear. They're pointy, they're right up against the ear drum. Super, super painful. And you do need to go visit us right away. Get them in there because we do need to get that out of there. It'll cause extreme pain, and then lead to infection too.

So that's the story on foxtails. One other thing, if your dog sticks their nose in the ground and sniffs, which pretty much every dog is certain to do at least several times on the trail, they can actually sniff these foxtails up their nose. It seems crazy that even a little dog like this can get a foxtail up their nose, but they can. And again, it's that pointy part that heads back.

What'll happen if your dog gets a foxtail, or something similar to that up their nose, is they'll just have a very violent sneezing imminently on the trail. So if they have a violent sneeze on the trail, they come off, they're sneezing some more, it's a really violent big sneeze. Then they have something up their nose. There is no way for you to look and to try to pick it out yourself, they have to come into the hospital also. And we actually have to give them a pretty heavy sedation in order to put a scope up there. Because a dog has a pretty big nasal canal for us to go up there and remove the foxtail. Those are also very uncomfortable for the dog, and if left alone they can cause problems up inside the nose like an abcess and such.

So foxtails, just be wary of them if you go on the trails. Just make sure to check your dog when you get back from the hike.

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