Getting ready for summer

Pet parents know spring is not just about cleaning and getting those prized tomato seedlings ready for planting. The season ushers in the active bug season; truly a critical time for you to protect not only your furry kids but your family and home.  Buddy’s Line recently had the pleasure of speaking with Austin-based veterinarian Lynanne Mockler. She has shared some of the most important action items that you should be doing right now that will help you and your pets enjoy a happy and healthy summer.

“Most people think about flea, tick, and heart worm prevention,” says Dr. Mockler, “Many of us forget, however, that springtime also means getting out and about. People make more regular visits to the dog park, nature trails, and swimming areas. This could mean increased exposure to viruses or bacteria. Make sure your pets are adequately protected. A good discussion with your vet may reveal an overlooked vaccine. Leptospirosis can cause kidney or liver failure and is spread via urine. Influenza is highly contagious from dog to dog. And depending on where you live, rattlesnake bites can be immediately life threatening.”

Increased activity outside is great for pet and parent. Running a marathon on your first day in the sun, however, is not advised. Dogs can be more at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke during the spring. “They haven’t yet re-accustomed themselves to the heat,” notes Dr. Mockler. “Make sure you give your pet time to get back into shape. If your pet has spent most of the winter on the couch with you, don’t expect them to go back to five-mile runs without some training time.”

Elevated activity outside can also result in an escalation of injury or joint pain. “Monitor your pet for unusual stiffness, excess panting, and restlessness.” comments Dr. Mockler. “These can be good indicators of pain and discomfort that may be treated with join supplements or an anti-inflammatory medicine prescribed by your vet.”

One thing that really peeves us at Buddy’s Line is pulling up to the local store or mall and finding cars with dogs inside. “We cannot run errands with our pets,” asserts Dr. Mockler. “Even if you are in the store for as little as five minutes, it is too hot for them. Just don’t do it.” If your dog likes to take trips, just be prepared. “Have water in your car,” she suggests. “Be efficient and think about your pet’s well-being.”

Season allergies are the worst; we at Buddy’s Line suffer from them horribly. So too can your pets. “Allergies are one of the biggest concerns,” says Dr. Mockler. “If you are starting on your regiment of antihistamines, don’t overlook your pet. Do they have a history of ear infections or itch more than usual? Waiting until your pet is raw from scratching is too late. Tackling issues early reduces the need for steroids and antibiotics.”

Parasites are always a major concern for pet parents. Don’t wait until you have a flea infestation to get protected. While we all know fleas are a nuisance, ticks carry disease. “Lymes or Ehrlichiosis can have serious consequences,” explains Dr. Mockler. “Mosquitoes are easily able to get into the home. A single heart worm can be fatal to a cat and can result in heart failure over time in dogs. It is important to note, most heart worm preventatives also protect against intestinal parasites such as roundworms or hookworms. While these may not infect people the way they do our pets” she says, “there is risk of human infection, particularly in children.”

Summer is a wonderful time to get out and enjoy your pet. Spring time prep will go a long way in ensuring that you and your best friend make the most of the season. And before you go outside, double check those collars. Statistics confirm lost dog incidents rise in warmer weather.

Buddy’s Line would like to thank Dr. Lynanne Mockler, DVM.