Thanks for sniffing us out online for this month’s downloadable health tip.
Cowabunga! Beach days can be dangerous for four-legged friends, but sun and surf don’t have to spell trouble. Dr. Kim Smyth digs into summer safety and tells you how to make a splash when it comes to preventing heat stroke, sand and salt water ingestion and sunburn.
Did you know?
- Although it is rare, cats can experience hyperthermia, too – especially if they are overweight. Dr. Kim Smyth tells you what signs to look out for and shares tips for turning a cat on a hot tin roof into a cool kitty.
- Unlike humans, sun exposure is not linked to melanoma in dogs and cats. The bad news is our furry friends can still get skin cancer. Dr. Rebecca Jackson demystifies melanoma and shares which pets are most at risk on the Vets for Pets blog.
- Summer parades and celebrations pose another peril to pets: fireworks. From poisoning to burns to noise phobias, skyrockets can cause a real pet health blow up. Dr. Kim Smyth explains the dangers on the Vets for Pets blog.
- Furry friends love to run amok when the weather gets warm, but unleashed dogs can cause unwanted confrontations. Trainer Nicole Larocco offers tips for thwarting an unchained canine and tells you what you can do to protect your pack.
If you're not careful, sand snacking, salt water sipping and sunburn can all be a real bummer for a beach bum:
a grain of trouble
If you have a dog that will eat anything, you need to be extra vigilant at the beach. A little sand will do no harm, but large quantities could collect in your dog's intestines or bowels and cause a blockage. Signs to look for include straining to defecate with no result, lack of appetite, repeated vomiting or any signs of abdominal discomfort such as heavy panting, pacing, whining or a distended belly.
As with sand, ingesting a little salt water won't do much harm to your dog; the most common side effect is loose stools for a day or two. However, if your dog drinks large amounts, it can cause a major electrolyte imbalance - which can lead to dehydration, brain damage, kidney failure and even death.
Sun-related skin tumors (different from melanomas) actually occur much more frequently in furry friends than they do in people. Dogs and cats with short, white coats, light-colored skin and sparse tummy fur are particularly prone to sun-induced skin disease and cancer. Using pet-formulated sunscreen (ask your vet to recommend a brand), apply to the bridge of the nose, ear tips, skin surrounding the lips, groin, abdomen and inner legs and any area where pigmentation is low. And remember that sunburn can occur even when your pet is not outside (think sun-bathing kitties in windowsills)!
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Remember to bookmark this site and check back for next month’s tip, or ask for a copy at your vet’s office! Here’s to a month of good health for you and your furry friends.