Spring and summer are great times for pets and pet owners. With the warmer weather rolling in, it’s to perfect time to get outdoors and explore. But unfortunately, visits to Vancouver pet hospitals also tend to climb in line with increasing outdoor activity.

To help keeps pets happy and healthy this spring and summer, here are a few easy-to-follow tips.

Be Critter Aware

When spring rolls in, bugs and critters start coming out, and some of these may be dangerous to pets. Animals like raccoons, skunks, coyotes, bears and even some larger cats that hibernate or reduce their activity through the winter are now waking up hungry and searching for food.

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Spring also marks the start of mating season for many wild animals. Keep pets leashed when exploring trails, and remain vigilant when letting them loose in your backyard. And as always, make sure to keep your organics and garage secured to discourage wildlife from visiting your property.

Keep Up with Flea and Tick Treatments

While preventative measures against fleas and ticks should be taken year-round, it is especially important during the spring and summer months. Before hitting the trails or heading out on family camping trips, talk to your Vancouver pet hospital about the various flea and tick treatments available for your pet, and once you’re out, remember to:

  • Stick close to cleared trails
  • Give your pet regular checks for ticks. Ticks are small, some the size of a sesame seed, and once they are embedded, they can look very much like a skin tag or mole.
  • Remove ticks promptly with tweezers, do not swipe or crush the tick as this can leave the head embedded in the skin. If you are unsure how to remove a tick, a Vancouver pet hospital will do it for you.

Mind the Heat

Each year, hundreds of dogs wind up in pet hospitals all around Vancouver suffering from heat-related illnesses, including heatstroke, dehydration, and burns. To keep your pet away from the vet, be mindful of things like hot pavement, staying hydrated, and limiting outdoor activity during the day’s hottest hours.

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It’s also important to never leave your pet alone in the car. Even parked in the shade, a car can reach dangerous temperatures in the cabin in less than an hour; during a heatwave, like those that have become increasingly common in Vancouver, it could be less.

Hot pavement is also an issue for sensitive pet paws. To avoid burns, steer clear of paved walkways during peak sunshine hours, and if you are spending lots of time outdoors when it’s hot, remember to take plenty of shade and water breaks.

Spot the Signs

Dogs and cats don’t sweat the way humans do; they drink water to cool themselves down, making it more difficult to spot the signs that their body temperatures are climbing into dangerous territory.

If you notice any of the following symptoms of heatstroke in your pet, you must take steps to help cool them down:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Red, dark purple, or bluish gums

Move your pet somewhere cool or shaded, and give water right away, but do not give them cold water or ice; cooling too quickly can shock their system. Instead, you can use the same cool but not cold water to dampen their fur and wet their paws which will help bring down their temperature.

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Once you have started to cool your pet, contact your veterinarian or pet hospital right away, even if your pet starts to show signs of recovery. Heat exhaustion or heatstroke can lead to several health complications, and your vet will be able to advise you on an appropriate course of action.