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Keeping your pets safe during the summer

Remember to NEVER leave your dog in the car on a warm or hot day.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dr. Kelley Gebhardt from Happy Tails Emergency Vet Clinic in Greensboro gives us the do's and don'ts of summer when it comes to your pets.

Heat Stroke

Warm days have arrived and we have already seen cases of heat stroke in dogs. Remember to NEVER leave your dog in the car on a warm or hot day. Some dogs can suffer heat stroke in a matter of minutes. Also, remember to modify your pet’s exercise program when it is hot and never walk or exercise them during the hottest times of the day. Here are important facts to help avoid heat stroke in your pet:

  • The temperature can rise more than 30 degrees per minute. Cracking a car window will not decrease the rate of heating or the final temperature.
  • Pets at increased risk include brachycephalic breeds, young pets, senior pets, or pets with health problems including excess weight, respiratory, or cardiovascular disease.
  • Dogs with black or dark brown hair coats will get hotter more quickly and could suffer solar thermal burns on their skin from heat absorption.
  • Precondition pets before exercising in hot months.
  • Animals should be allowed to acclimate for 1-2 months after moving to a hotter or more humid environment.
  • If heat stroke is suspected, it is critical to act fast and take your pet to a veterinarian. It has been shown that survival rates are much higher if appropriate treatment is received within 90 minutes. Mortality rates climb dramatically after the 90-minute window.

Snake Bite Safety

Spring marks the start of snake bite season in North Carolina. Snake bites occur most often between March and October when snakes are most active. A snake bite is always an emergency and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Reduce risk of encounters with snakes:

  • Keep your yard clear of wood piles, undergrowth, brush, and other items.
  • Eliminate rodents to prevent attracting snakes to your house and yard.
  • Leash walk pets and avoid walking around tall grasses, bushes, and rocks.
  • Snakes can strike across a distance equal to half their body length.
  • Familiarize yourself with snakes common in your area. If your pet is bitten, identifying the snake may help with treatment.

Recognize snake bite symptoms:

  • Fang marks may or may not be visible
  • Local or generalized swelling, redness, or purple coloration of the skin
  • Tenderness to intense pain
  • Lameness, lethargy, weakness, collapse

What to do if you think your pet has been bitten:

  • Seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.
  • DO NOT use cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleed the wound or try to suck out the venom.
  • Keep your pet calm. Limit their activity.
  • If your pet was bitten on the neck, remove their collar.
  • Do not try to catch or kill the snake to bring it to the veterinarian.

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