We’ve made that Colorado season change again – almost straight from winter/spring snow right into summer heat. And, with the pace of life we are all living at, it’s time for a quick pet health assessment – are your pets ready for summer?

Here’s the summer biggies:

  1. Protect your dog against Heat Stroke. Exercise during the cool parts of the day and, if Fido has been a winter couch potato, he’s going to need to build up in terms of training – just like his owner. And, make that a pet has adequate shade and access to water if they are staying outside while you are away from home.
  2. Heartworm Prevention – we are lucky to avoid many of the bugs of summer seen at lower altitudes, but we do have heartworm in Denver. Make sure your dog has been heartworm tested and is on their monthly preventative before the mosquitos arrive. Cats can get heartworm as well and if your kitty is an outdoor scrounger, consider heartworm testing and preventative for him or her as well.
  3. Cars – hot cars kill pets. If the temperature is above 72 degrees, then your pet should not be left in the car. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature can rise quickly and significantly inside a vehicle. If you must leave your pet briefly in the car – open the windows as far as able to safely, park in the shade and open the sunroof also – then be really fast at your errand.
  4. Antifreeze – if you are handy and change your own car fluids, use a pet-safe antifreeze product to prevent pet poisoning. The bright green ethylene glycol antifreeze tastes sweet and it only takes a very small dose to cause irreparable damage to a pets’ kidneys.
  5. Water Safety – no all dogs are good swimmers and a few are just not shaped right to swim well. When boating with a dog, make sure that he or she is outfitted with a dog life jacket – it will provide extra buoyancy to allow them to stay above water until can be pulled back onto the boat or a short swim to shore. And, if you have a swimming pool, make sure to keep it pet safe – prevent unattended access to the pool with fencing or a cover. You can also train larger dogs how to safely exit the pool, but still keep an eye on them.
  6. Summer Travel – it’s a great time to be road-tripping and is also the time of year for moving. Check in with your veterinarian if traveling to get the names of veterinary practices along your route in case of emergency or to get a small supply of anti-nausea or anti-stress medication if your pet is not a great traveler. If moving, your veterinarian can help provide names of potential new veterinarians in your new home town as well as give you copies of their medical history.

Enjoy a safe, fun and cool Colorado summer.