Summer is here. This issue our Veterinary Hospital Assistant professionals share some of their tips and tricks for navigating the summer season with pets.
CODEE KOCH | Technician Assistant, Vernon Veterinary Clinic
I think heat stroke is a huge issue in the Okanagan – especially in the summer. Make sure your pet is staying hydrated, try to walk them early morning and evening. More frequent short walks will also help prevent it. Ticks (and their removal) and spear grass are other big issues. It’s very common to have spear grass migrate into tissues – especially the ear canal. Learn to identify it and keep your pets aways from it; also check their coat well after walking. For ticks, I would recommend staying away from tall grass, using flea/tick prevention and if you go for a hike make sure to check your pet. You can also usually go to your local vet and get something called a tick twister to help remove them.
ANGELA OSMACHENKO | DOGSAFE Instructor and Owner, Happy Tails Canine Adventures (Prince George)
Heat: Hot cars, hot pavement, hot sand, sunburn, prolonged exposure…these situations can cause skin damage like burning, and heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Sunscreens are available for dogs (like doodle breeds after a short clip at the groomers). Leave them at
home if you cannot keep them cool. Always cool slowly and gradually…no ice baths!
Hydration: Keep cool water available to drink. Don’t let dogs get too thirsty and gulp water, especially around exercise…this can be a factor in causing bloat which is fatal.
Water Safety: If boating, dogs should have life jackets too. Rivers are fast and high, dogs get disoriented or run out of steam at the lake, so watching their stamina and being aware of hazards and your dog’s capabilities is important.
Ticks, fleas, lice, etc.: Talk to your vet about a treatment or prevention plan for your pets during the bug season. This is especially important for animals that are out in the bush. Know what the risks are in your neck of the woods.
Wildlife: Be bear aware. Plus moose, snakes, beavers, river otters, big cats, you name it. Know the proper procedures to follow for wildlife you may encounter. Carry spray, noise makers, etc. Fireworks: If your animals are stressed around this activity there are many options to help ease them. Leave the area, use thunder coats, cbd oil, turn up house ambient noise, distraction, lots of cuddles and comfort and keep them contained!
Camping food and fire pits: Lots of hazards here! Chocolate from ‘smores, or other food falling on the ground unnoticed. Know what your pet is getting in to. Other people leave food behind in fire pits or campsites and break glass on the ground. Watch fire pits – whether hot or not, there are hazards. Burning nose, reaching for food, or burning tail while watching you eat… and hot coals too – even around the outside. Also, beware vegetation in the forest. There have been reports of cannabis consumption from pets in the woods.
Travel ID: It’s good to have temporary ID tags if traveling or camping, so you can be found in your temporary location should you be separated from your pet. Do some research of the area ahead of time for risk assessment. Know who to call. Have a couple numbers for the surrounding area. Vets, non-emergency police, poison control, etc.
SHANNON B | Veterinary Assistant/Tech Student, Panarama Veterinary Service
If your dog is swimming frequently this summer, make sure to clean out his/her ears with an appropriate ear cleaner after swimming to prevent infection.