Summer may be over on the calendar, but we’ve got plenty of high mercury days remaining in Austin. As Austin temperatures remain high until well into the school year, remember to keep your dog safe from common seasonal issues. Here are four to watch out for.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer heat stroke with exposure to high temperatures – something we’re familiar with in Austin. Dogs with a dark or dense hair coat and those with with flat faces (or short muzzles) cannot pant as effectively. Other risk factors include age, obesity and heart and/or lung disease. Remember that your dog has very few sweat glands and can’t naturally cool itself down as easily as you can.
When a dog has a spike in body temperature the extreme heat stress can both impair breathing and injure organs. The condition can be fatal if left untreated.
There are many signs that can point to heat exhaustion or heat stroke in dogs, including excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit, along with an elevated body temperature of over 104°F. If you see these more severe symptoms, especially the high temperature, see your veterinarian right away. If signs of heatstroke are present, your dog should be immediately cooled to a rectal temperature of 103.5°F.
Like many other dangerous pet parasites, heartworm is carried by mosquitos. A single mosquito bite can infect your dog, which makes Austin’s hot, wet climate particularly dangerous for dogs. When a mosquito carrying heartworm bites a pet, miniscule larvae can be deposited into the bloodstream. After six months, these larvae mature into adult heartworms. Adult heartworms can grow up to 12 inches long and usually lodge themselves into your pet’s heart, lungs and blood vessels.
Early heartworm can have no symptoms but as the disease progresses, mild symptoms such as a persistent cough, lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss and a swollen belly from excess fluid can occur. Because the symptoms can be difficult to detect it is important that you take your dog into your vet for heartworm detection regularly and take the preventative treatment that they recommend.
Fleas and Ticks
Austin’s warm and humid climate also makes it the perfect breeding ground for fleas and ticks, outdoor parasites which can cause a host of problems for our pets, and for us. Ticks can transmit a host of diseases to your dog, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bartonella, and Lyme Disease. Likewise, fleas can cause painful itching and flea-allergy dermatitis. Fleas have also been known to carry tapeworm.
As with most pet health issues, prevention as a part of overall wellness care is far easier and more cost effective than treatment. The best proactive measure you can take to protect your dog from these parasites is keeping them on a year-round parasite preventative that your vet recommends.
Dog Park Hazards
Lawn sprinklers and periods of heavy rain like we had in Austin this past spring can leave lots of puddles and standing water which can be dangerous for thirsty dogs. Street water can mix with dog feces, so when your dog bends down to get a big gulp of water, they may be unknowingly ingesting pathogens like Giardia. If your dog suddenly has a bad case of diarrhea after a rainy day out at the park, they may have contracted Giardia, an intestinal parasite caused by a common protozoan parasite. Dogs become infected with Giardia when they come in contact with infected feces, directly or indirectly. The most common symptoms of Giardia are diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. While Giardia can be temporary, if the symptoms are ongoing, call your veterinarian since they can cause dehydration, deteriorating health and potentially death.
Another disease that they should be protected from when they play with other dogs is Canine Distemper, which is caused by a very contagious virus. Puppies and dogs usually become infected through virus particles in the air or in the respiratory secretions of infected dogs. Infected dogs typically develop runny eyes, fever, snotty nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and paralysis. It is often fatal. See your veterinarian if symptoms persist and get your dog the canine distemper vaccine. It is considered a core vaccine that is recommended for every puppy and as a booster for adult dogs.
Unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk for Canine Parvovirus-2 or parvo. Parvo is typically spread directly from dog to dog, but contact with contaminated stool, environments, or people can also spread the disease. The virus most often affects the lymph nodes, blood stream and small intestines of dogs. Some also see an affected heart. It can be fatal if not noticed or treated quickly. Once a dog or puppy is infected, there is an incubation period of three to seven days before the onset of first symptoms. Fortunately, there is a vaccine for parvo and it is administered to puppies and adult dogs as as a booster.
No matter the weather, the staff at ZippiVet can keep your dog happy, healthy and ready to play. Book an appointment today at either our north or new south location.
It’s a known fact that many dogs and cats cannot get into the spirit of Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day. Common reactions pets may have to loud noises include: trembling, vocalizing (barking, howling, meowing), whimpering, panting, drooling, constantly seeking your attention (or protection) and/or attempting to run away or escape from the noise.
Each year hundreds of dogs are lost as they run away due to the scary sounds of explosives. During July 2015, the Austin Animal Shelter took in 1,214 stray pets.
What Can Pet Owners Do to Prepare for the Fourth of July?
Make sure your dog is wearing an I.D. tag with a properly fitting collar as you start the holiday weekend.
Plan to keep your pet inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship and air conditioning. Outdoor time during the Fourth of July or bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.
If your pet is easily frightened by loud noises and spent a fair number of hours hiding during our recent spring thunderstorms, fireworks might set them off again. Some pet owners see a noticeable level of comfort when their pet wears a tight-fitting piece of clothing.
- Snug-fitting shirts target various pressure points, creating a sensation similar to swaddling a baby. It is a viable, drug-free option for dogs that suffer from fear of loud noises of fireworks, thunder (thus the brand name “Thundershirt”), separation anxiety and/or travel anxiety. Anxiety Wrap is another similar solution recommended by pet owners.
- Try on any pet clothing a few times before the loudest firecrackers can be heard.
Fourth of July Game Plan for Your Pet
Make sure your dog gets exercise earlier in the day on the holiday. That’s good advice all summer-long. It keeps your dog cooler and can help protect against heat stroke.
Provide a safe place inside for your pets to retreat. When scared of sounds, pets can’t relax. Most dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.
Removing visual stimulation can also help calm pets. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Covering their crate or lowering the blinds can also be helpful.
Leave your pet something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with the dog’s favorite treats or a new, tasty bone or catnip.
Sound therapy can help. Psychoacoustically designed music of Through a Dog’s Ear has been specifically designed to reduce canine anxiety and has been recommended by dog owners. It may most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start, at a time the dog is already feeling peaceful and relaxed.
- Your dog will begin to associate the music with being calm and content.
- Play the music a couple of hours before the fireworks start and continue to play through bedtime.
Bottom line – keep your pet inside your home and safe from harm when fireworks are in the sky.
As the holiday weekend approaches, it’s the perfect time to come in for a checkup – particularly if you have a pet that’s susceptible to stress or anxiety. Zippivet also offers preventative care, including microchipping should your dog stray. We make it easy to schedule an appointment to be sure your pet is ready to enjoy the weekend! We are open Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and will be closed on Monday, July 4th for the holiday.
Austin has recently been struck with lots of rain, and while the showers are great for our lawns and gardens, the rain can leave lots of puddles and standing water which can be dangerous for thirsty dogs. Street water can mix with dog feces, so when your dog bends down to get a big gulp of water, he or she may be unknowingly ingesting something more sinister – Giardia. If your dog suddenly has a bad case of diarrhea after a rainy day out at the park they may have contracted Giardia.
What is Giardia?
Giardia is an intestinal parasite caused by the protozoan parasite Giardia, while it has a scary name, Giardia is one of the more common intestinal parasites.
How do dogs get Giardia?
Dogs become infected with Giardia when they come in contact with infected feces, directly or indirectly. This means your pup can get it from eating the feces of another dog, playing or habiting in the same area as an infected dog, or drinking water from an outdoor puddle that happens to have come in contact with infected feces. The parasite loves cool standing water meaning spring showers is a crucial time to watch out for potential contact with Giardia.
While dogs of all ages can get Giardia, it’s more common in younger puppies. Up to 50% of young pups will develop Giardia and most dogs who are frequently boarded or kenneled with multiple dogs will get it.
How can I prevent Giardia?
There are several ways to avoid coming in contact with Giardia. When your dog is outside or playing with multiple dogs, watch what they’re eating. If you take your pup out after a rainy day, make sure they have access to clean drinking water at all times. Carefully handle all feces and properly discard it. Wash your hands immediately after handling dog feces.
What are the symptoms of Giardia?
The most common symptoms of Giardia are diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. While Giardia can be temporary, if the symptoms are ongoing they can cause dehydration, deteriorating health and potentially death.
What is the treatment for Giardia?
If you think your dog has Giardia or you notice dog vomit or diarrhea, contact ZippiVet immediately. We’ll be able to conduct a feces test and provide your pet with an antibiotic.
If you think your dog has giardia it is important to bring them into ZippiVet immediately to ensure they receive proper treatment and don’t infect other pets. Contact ZippiVet to discuss proper preventative care and to schedule a checkup.
From sharing recipes and craft projects, to reuniting relatives after a natural disaster, the power of social media is undeniable. But you can also employ social media to find a lost pet and bring him or her home faster.
Computers, tablets, and mobile devices have truly revolutionized our abilities to communicate daily (or hourly) with those nearby and around the globe. Using social media to engage with hundreds of individuals and organizations is a powerful tool, and in the case of a lost pet, your best and far-reaching ally. Making flyers on your copy machine for the neighborhood can still be helpful, but the days of flyers and posters are rapidly shrinking due to the speed and reach of Facebook and Twitter. Continue…
In many households, the end of the school year means the beginning of a fun summer for your kids and your pets alike. The kids are thrilled to be out of school, and the pets are thrilled to have their old playmate(s) back.
But all good things must come to an end. With many families focusing on school, work, and after school activities right now, your four-legged friend will probably have a lot more free time on his or her paws. Read on to learn about back to school blues in pets and for tips on keeping a curious pet out of trouble this school year. Continue…
Although Austin’s not quite as humid as, say, Houston, our lovely city still experiences toasty temperatures throughout the summer. The days can stretch endlessly towards September, with no real break from the sunny, hot days that often reach 100-degrees, or higher.
While it’s endearing to imagine your furry friend sporting a pair of Ray-ban’s in the summer sun, heatstroke dangers are all too real and deeply concern us. Veterinary hospitals see too many cases each summer to believe that all pet owners understand the risks. How can you better protect your pet from heat-related problems? We’re glad you asked! The following ZippiTips aim to keep your furry friend cool and safe all summer long. Continue…