The weather is changing out there and we want your four legged friends to be safe. Cases have been reported to us about local dog parks and Giardia. Below is some information to help you and your pet stay healthy this Spring.
Spring has arrived! With the great weather more of us have been getting outside with our furry friends for some much needed sun. Before you head out, here are a few things you should know to keep your dog safe when you are exploring all the Northwest has to offer:
Fleas & Ticks
Fleas and ticks are tiny blood sucking creatures that can greatly impact the health and well-being of your dog along with wreaking havoc on your house. This time of year these pests are becoming very active in our trails, parks, and beaches throughout Washington and it is important that you protect your pets.
There are many products on the market, ranging from all-natural powders to prescribed oral tablets, which prevent infestations and parasites from plaguing your dog. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about the best preventative treatment for your dog as there are many factors to consider. I have found that prescribed oral tablets work very well at preventing fleas by interrupting their growth cycle and not allowing new eggs to hatch. Also, these tablets can protect against internal parasites such as; Heartworms, Roundworms, Hookworms, and Whipworms. The down side with these tablets is they don’t kill fleas or ticks on contact. Topical oil drops are another great option, they can be purchased over-the-counter and work very well at controlling fleas and ticks. These topical drops kill almost all external parasites on contact. But, they will not protect your dog from internal parasites and can leave your dog’s coat feeling slightly oily. These are just two examples of the many flea and tick treatments on the market. This is why it is important to talk to your veterinarian about what will work best for you and your dog.
If you find a flea, most infestations can be treated by brushing the dog out with a Flea Comb and giving them a Flea Bath, make sure you follow the directions on the Flea Shampoo completely. This may need to be repeated several time depending on the severity of the infestation. Just as important as treating the dog is treating the environment your dog lives in. There are many products on the market to rid your house and yard of fleas.
Ticks are very common in tall grasses and wooded areas throughout the region but they can be pulled off your dog with a Tick Remover Tool. These are special tweezers that remove the full tick without leaving the tick’s head burrowed under the dog’s skin. If part of this tick is left burrowed in the dog’s skin it can cause an infection. Never try to burn or freeze ticks off your dog, this will not remove the tick and only further injure your dog. If your dog has multiple ticks throughout their body, you should have your veterinarian remove them and test your dog for Lyme disease and other pathogens.
Giardia is an intestinal parasite that can infect both dogs and humans. It is most commonly transmitted by drinking unclean stagnant water, especially where the water can be contaminated by wild animals’ feces. Even if the water looks clean it is never safe for your dog to drink any water you would not drink yourself. Your standards should be high but, as most kids know, hose water is great on a hot summer day! This time of year Giardia can be found in most of our ponds, creeks, and wetlands so keep a close eye on your pooch and use a Gulpy Water Dispenser (sold at Jax Dog Drop) so you always have clean water on hand.
The signs of Giardia can range from foul smelling diarrhea, slightly bloody or greenish diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. A severely infected dog may have all of these symptoms but a dog with a
minor infection might not show any. This is why it is important to have your dog’s feces screened (fecal float test) by your veterinarian at least once a year.
If your dog is infected it is important to get them treated as quickly as possible and keep them away from other dogs and children. Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics that will, in most cases, clear up the infection within 5-7 days.
Giardia is a very common ailment among dogs which can happen to the best cared for pup. This is an easily treated condition, especially if you are watching for the symptoms and have your veterinarian routinely screen your dog so any infection can be caught early.
Heat Stroke, or Hyperthermia, is a huge concern for any dog and their owners while out-and-about in this beautiful weather we have been having. Dogs do not sweat like humans, but instead regulate their body temperature by panting. Because of their limited ability to manage their body temperature dogs are much more susceptible to heat stroke than humans.
Symptoms to watch for are excessive panting, heavy drooling, redness of gums, and rapid or irregular heart rate. Action must be taken immediately to cool the dog and if left untreated the dog’s organs can begin to fail and their heart can stop. To cool the dog’s body temperature offer them cool water to drink, wet their coat with cool to lukewarm water, and put the dog in front of a fan. Do not used very cold or icy water as this can cause the dog to go into shock and possibly heart/organ failure.
Heat Stroke can be caused by excessive exercise and it is important to keep your dog well hydrated while playing out in the heat but the #1 cause of heat stroke is leaving a pet in a parked car or an unventilated room. With a 70° outside temperature your car can heat up to 89° in just 10 minutes and to 104° in 30 minutes. We have been lucky enough to get a few days in the mid 80’s already this year but we have to keep our pets in mind when going out. At 85° your car will heat up to 104° in 10 minutes and 119° in as little as a half hour. Never leave your pets in an unventilated room or car and always make sure they have access to plenty clean water. If you see an animal in distress don’t hesitate to take action. Call 911 or the King County Animal Control at 206-296-PETS.
I hope everyone gets out to enjoy our great Northwest summer! Just keep the needs of our furry family members in mind as our amazing dog days of summer wag on.