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Summertime Safety Tips Every San Diego Pet Parent Should Know

Warm summer months are just around the corner! Prepare for a stress free summer season with our top five summertime pet safety tips! If you're a pet parent in San Diego California, these tips are for you!

Keep reading to discover the vaccines and medications especially important during summer months in the San Diego area, a dangerous summer plant to avoid and the type of infection your pet is especially prone to in the summer!

Top Five Summer Safety Tips for Pet Parents in San Diego

Tip 1: Vaccinate for Rattlesnakes!

Rattlesnakes are especially active during the warm summer months and their bite can be fatal for dogs. If you and your dog enjoy hiking, trail walks and embarking on other outdoor adventures together, we highly suggest you consider the rattlesnake vaccine. While the vaccine will not give your dog full immunity to rattlesnake venom, it will reduce their reaction to the venom which increases the chance of survival if bitten. Note: all pets, even ones vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine should receive immediate emergency care if bitten.

Click here to setup an appointment for your pet to receive the rattlesnake vaccine!

Tip 2: Give your pet consistent parasite prevention!

While parasite prevention is important all year round, it's especially important during the warmer summer months when pesky parasites such as fleas and mosquitos are most active. These parasites transmit dangerous illnesses to our companion animals that can be persistent and challenging to treat. Prevention is the best treatment plan! We recommend that both dogs and cats (including those that live indoors only) receive consistent parasite prevention and there are several different forms of prevention medication to choose from including oral, topical and injectable!

If you are an existing client of Fire Mountain Veterinary Hospital, visit our online pharmacy to refill your pet's parasite prevention! If you are not yet a client but need parasite prevention for your pet, click here to schedule an appointment!

Tip 3: Monitor Closely for Signs of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke refers to a serious health condition in which a pet's body temperature becomes excessively elevated ( >106 degrees). When internal temperatures reach 107 degrees, internal organs begin to shut down and death is imminent. This increase in body temperature can happen quickly - in just minutes.

Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, sticky gums, cognitive abnormalities - may seem disoriented or confused, bruising of the gums, lethargy and seizure activity.

Situations that commonly lead to heat stroke include leaving a pet in a hot car, excessive exercise on a hot day, leaving a dog outside without access to shade or water and prolonged exposure to a hair dryer.

Unlike humans, dogs are unable to sweat and instead regulate their body temperature through panting. Because of this, brachycephalic breeds (breeds with a flat face, such as French Bulldogs) are at a heightened risk for heat stroke due to their restrictive respiratory abnormalities. These breeds can experience heat stroke on days when temperatures are not even particularly high.

Muzzle usage is also a risk factor for heat stroke due to the inherent restriction muzzles put on a dog's ability to pant. Whenever possible we suggest utilizing basket muzzles that allow for plenty of air flow and pant room.

Use caution on hot summer days and be sure to provide your pets plenty of cool, shady areas with plenty of water and rest.

Tip 4: Prevent Ear Infections

Most dogs would agree that one of the best parts of summer in southern California is all the increased water time. The downside of all this summertime water fun? Ear infections! When moisture gets trapped down in the ear canal it creates the perfect environment for yeast and bacteria to multiple, ultimately leading a painful ear infection. If your pet develops an ear infection, it's recommended that they stay out of the water for several days while the infection is being treated, which is devastating news for many dogs!

Signs of an ear infection include red, inflamed inner ears, dark discharge, odor, itching, head shaking, head tilting and sensitivity to touch.

To help prevent ear infections, we recommend cleaning your dog's ears after every exposure to water using a veterinary-approved ear flush - it's crucial to ensure the ear flush used contains safe, effective ingredients. If the ear flush does not contain an appropriate drying agent, you will be adding more and more moisture into your dog's ear canal with every cleaning, which only increases the likelihood of infection.

If you are an existing client of Fire Mountain Veterinary Hospital, visit our online pharmacy to order ear cleaner.

Suspect your pet has an ear infection? Click here to schedule an appointment!

Tip 5: Beware of the Foxtail Plant

Southern California is riddled with a very dangerous plant called the Foxtail, and it is in full bloom in early summer months. The foxtail plant has spiked, barbed strands that routinely become lodged in the nose, feet, eyes and skin of unsuspecting pets. The plant strands are incredibly hardy and do not breakdown within the body, leading to complications such as abscesses and frequently require surgical removal. If you find yourself in an area inhabited by foxtails, we highly suggest keeping your pets leashed and out of contact from the foxtails.

Explore the helpful Outfox Hood, a product designed to keep our pets safe from these dangerous plants.


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