Dog Days Ahead!
Published March 10, 2021
Spring is upon us, and that means we’ll venture outside with our canine friends. Here’s what you can do to keep your pet comfy, safe, and healthy to make the most of the months ahead.
Protect Your Pet from the Sun
Did you know that pets can get sunburns too? All pets should have access to shade and breaks from excessive sunlight, but this is especially true for short-haired breeds, pets with light-colored fur, and shaved pets.
It’s tempting to shave a long-haired pet to help them stay cool, but shaving is advised against by veterinarians. It can actually damage your pet’s coat in the long run and, again, increase exposure to the sun and other weather conditions. If you have a long-haired breed, have your pet groomed and trimmed for their recommended coat length, and keep your pet’s coat tangle-free between trims so their coat won’t need to be cut too close to the skin.
In addition to seeking shade, make sure you take your dog for walks where the ground isn’t too hot. Avoid hot pavement (always test the pavement with your hand before walking your dog), and opt for more comfortable footing, such as a a grassy field or a dirt trail, when possible. If you don’t have access to more comfortable grounds for your pet, take walks in the morning and evening when the pavement is most cool. These are actually the times your pet is most energetic too.
You should bring water on walks for your pet. There are many dog water bottles that come with built-in bowls. If your pet is comfortable with it, you can also try brining a spray bottle to cool your pet off with a spritz.
Essential Tip: Know the signs of heatstroke in dogs. Dogs pant to cool down, but excessive, ongoing panting, labored breathing, lethargy, and pale or blue gums could indicate heat stroke. If your pet exhibits these symptoms, take them to an animal hospital or emergency room, as heat stroke can be life threatening.
You know who else loves warm weather? Pests like fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites! While they may be present anytime of the year, parasite infestations and ear and skin irritation are especially common during spring and summer months.
It’s best to prevent parasites rather than treat an infestation in the long run. Keeping your dog on consistent flea and tick prevention not only keeps your pet comfortable and safe, but also helps prevent pesky flea infestations in your home and other household pets.
Not all parasites are apparent from the outside. Pets may contract intestinal parasites through soil, standing water, and contact with other animals’ stool remnants. Unfortunately, once infested, pets may also spread intestinal parasites to their human family members. Most parasites are not visible to the naked eye in your pet’s stool, which is why it is important to have regular intestinal parasite tests and specific deworming treatments, when necessary, to stop any infestation in its tracks.
Some heartworm preventative medications also help to prevent intestinal parasite infestations. While it’s extremely important for cats and dogs alike to take heartworm prevention all year round, it is also important that dogs receive regular heartworm tests.
Essential Tip: At Essential PetCare, your pet can be tested for heartworm for only $20, and for intestinal parasites, $35, or only $25 when added to other services.
Know the Symptoms of Allergies
Pets may have itchy skin and ears for a variety of reasons, but a primary contributor is environmental allergies, which commonly have a seasonal pattern. Pets don’t need to live with red, itchy, and bumpy skin and ears. You can nip an existing problem in the bud and prevent future flare-ups with help from a veterinarian who can figure out the root cause of the discomfort.
Essential Tip: If your pet is experiencing allergy symptoms, we recommend visiting for our Skin and Ear Packages, which include a doctor’s exam of the affected area, diagnostics, and treatment recommendations.
Recommended Vaccines for Your Pet’s Lifestyle
Like unseen parasites, viral and bacterial diseases may be more common as pets venture outdoors and socialize on walks. That is why veterinarians recommend that all dogs receive “core” vaccines to prevent serious and potentially fatal diseases that may spread through infected animals and environments.
Rabies vaccines of course are required for cats and dogs by law, and a current vaccination will help protect your pet should they have contact with a rabid animal. Other recommended vaccines for dogs include the distemper/parvo combination vaccine (DA2PP), Leptospirosis, and Bordetella vaccines, which prevent diseases that may spread among dogs through contact with infected animals, surfaces, and stool.
These vaccines are especially important for pets who partake in your travel plans or stay at doggie daycares or boarding facilities. It is also recommended that dogs in these situations receive the canine influenza vaccine.
One vaccine that is commonly overlooked is the leptospirosis vaccine. This vaccine protects pets from a bacterial disease that may be harbored in the urine of wild animals and in fresh water. It is also a zoonotic disease, which means it can spread from pets to people. Even if your pet prefers the indoors, it is still recommended that you ask an Essentials PetCare team member about your pet and Leptospirosis vaccination.
Symptoms of leptospirosis infection include fever, lethargy, and vomiting, and the disease is potentially life threatening. The vaccine will help assure that your pet will not contract this disease or spread it to you and your family.
Essential Tip: Whether your pet is experiencing seasonal skin or ear discomfort, needs updated vaccines, a heartworm test, or an intestinal parasite test, we make it easy to get your pet set to enjoy a safe and healthy spring and summer ahead.