There are many plant varieties that are toxic to our pets if consumed. Symptoms range from mild (sore throat, vomiting) to extreme (organ failure, death). The ASPCA has great lists of toxic plants that include all common and scientific names of each plant.
Gardening and Pest Control Materials
Pay close attention to the labels on any fertilizer, herbicides, insect repellants or pesticides you use in areas your pet has access to. Some are toxic to our furry family members or can cause burns and rashes on their skin. This includes some common ‘natural’ solutions including tea tree oil, eucalyptus and other essential oils. All rodenticides (mouse poison) are toxic to pets when ingested; keep them in locked bait stations or areas your pet cannot gain access to. Other items that seem innocent can cause issues if pets consume them, for example mulch could cause intestinal blockage or perforation.
Pets can get heat stroke just like us! This is especially true if they are not provided a shaded area with access to plenty of fresh water when left outside. NEVER leave your pets in a car during warm weather. Cracking the window is not enough! Cars heat up quickly (see chart below for details). Even if you’ll ‘only be a minute’ and you ‘left the air conditioning on’, other dangers are still present when pets are left unattended such as theft (dog theft has occurred in Saskatoon!) or your pet could consume something they shouldn’t.
|Outside Temperature (Celsius)||In the vehicle after 10 minutes||In the vehicle after 30 minutes|
There are many ways to help your pet cool down. Adding ice cubes to water bowls, feeding zucchini or other water filled veggies, playing in the sprinkler and making ‘pup-sicles’ by freezing Kong toys filled with peanut butter or canned diets are just a few fun ideas!
Paw pads can be injured by hot pavement or sand during walks. As a general rule, if you can’t walk barefoot on the surface your pet can’t either. There are summer booties or protective balms available at pet stores that can help prevent any sore paws. Walking on grass is a safer alternative but is not without potential injuries such as broken glass or other items left by other people enjoying the nice weather.
Contagious Diseases and Parasites
Spring and summer are social times for our pets too! They are more likely to meet other pets on their outdoor adventures and therefore more likely to contract diseases that pass from animal to animal. Ensure your pet’s vaccines are up to date. This is especially important when boarding pets during your holidays.
Contact with intestinal and external parasites (ex. Roundworms, Ticks) increases during the warm weather. The tick population is on the rise in our province and intestinal parasites are always present in the environment. In Saskatchewan we only rarely see Lyme disease or Heartworm, but if you travel outside of the province keep in mind that the area you are in might not be as lucky. Start preventive treatments before you travel.
There are many options for prevention and deworming including easy to give flavoured chews. Be cautious when using over the counter preventives like flea and tick collars or ‘spot-on’ treatments. Some of these products have caused severe reactions in both cats and dogs. Many products that may be safe for dogs can cause seizures in cats. Always read the label or ask your vet to ensure the product is suitable for use in your pet!
Stay safe and have a great spring and summer!
Written by Cumberland Veterinary Hospital