House and Home

Protecting Your Pet During the Dog Days of Summer


When the weather heats up, we're not the only ones trying to keep cool.

Staying hydrated is just as important for our furry friends as it is for us. And all too often, animal hospitals treat pets for heat-related conditions that could have been easily prevented.

We asked Dr. Kristen Frank, a staff internist at the ASPCA, for some tips on how to prevent some of the most common conditions:

Heat stroke

Frank recommends walking your dog earlier or later in the day when it's not as hot. Be sure to give your dog cool water and stay in the shade when possible. You also want to make sure to keep your pet cool at home. If it's above 85 degrees, you need to keep your air conditioner on while you're out, or make sure your pet has a cool place to stay.Estimated cost of care = $400 to $1,000Cost to prevent = Free

Fleas and ticks

This time of year is prime tick and flea season. If your pet is not protected from insects, infestations can cause a host of problems including allergic reactions, skin infections, and in severe cases, anemia.Estimated cost of care for Lyme disease or flea dermatitis: $300-$2,000Cost to prevent = $150 for a three-month supply of preventative treatment.

Sand/Saltwater Ingestion

Most dogs love the beach, whether it be swimming in the ocean or digging holes in the sand. Ingesting sand will not only give your pet an upset stomach, it can lead to a condition called impaction— when the sand actually gets lodged in the stomach. Likewise, drinking too much salt water can cause an electrolyte imbalance, which can be fatal. Frank advises people to be mindful of their pets and suggests hosing them down with fresh water after they come home from the beach. If you can’t trust them not to eat or drink everything they see, it might be best to leave them home.Estimated cost of care = Can vary depending on severity but the emergency visit alone can cost $150Cost to prevent = Free

Over-ingestion of fatty, rich foods or alcohol

If you are having a barbeque, tell your guests to not give your dog any table scraps, no matter how cute their puppy eyes are. Alcohol has the same effect on animals as it does on humans, and can cause decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.Estimated cost of care = $2,000 - $4,500;Estimated cost to prevent = Free

High-rise syndrome (cats falling out of opened, un-screened windows from tall buildings)

Protecting your cat from injuries such as ruptured lungs, broken limbs and broken jaw can be as affordable as purchasing a screen for your windows at any local home improvement store.Estimated cost = $1,500 to $4,000Cost to prevent = $20

Hitting the road?

When it comes to traveling with your cat or dog, Frank says, "Defer to your pet's personality. If they're more social and prefer to be around people, taking them along with you should be OK."  However, if your pet has a tendency to get car sick, or anxious, she says there are medications that can remedy these symptoms. You should NEVER to leave your pet alone in the car, and remember to bring plenty of water.