Veterinarian - San Diego
1540 Morena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110



By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
August 09, 2013
Category: Pet Care
Tags: Untagged


Higher temperatures may translate into more time spent outdoors, but for pet owners this can also mean increased visits to the veterinarian!  Here are some tips on how to protect your pet during these warm 'dog days of summer':

  • Keep your pet bug-free.

Summer is prime time for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes that can carry diseases and make your pet generally uncomfortable.  We have found that ultimately the best defense is a GOOD offense, which translates into PREVENTION!  Many safe, easy, and effective flea, heartworm, and parasite products are now available and our staff will be happy to recommend the most appropriate protocol for your dog or cat.

  • Keep your pet away from brushy areas.

Being a San Diegan and having worked in the veterinary field for many years, one becomes accustomed to the influx of pets that present each spring and summer with foxtails, a type of hard seed-bearing grass structure that are known to cause problems for our furry loved ones. Please refer to our previous blog entry, Foxtails: Oh Me, Oh My, Oh No for more information on symptoms and ways to prevent foxtails in your pet.

  • Know the warning signs of heat stroke in pets.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately. Some of the common symptoms of overheating include difficulty breathing, excessive panting, drooling, increased heart rate, dizziness, collapse, diarrhea, vomiting, and elevated temperature of over 104 degrees. For more information on how to prevent heatstroke in your pet, please refer to our Pet Care Library article, Heat Stroke in Dogs.

  • Never leave your pet in the car (not even for a short period of time).

Even with the windows opened, a car is a lot like an oven when it sits in the summer sun, and it can heat up quickly within minutes even when it seems cool outside.  If you need to run some errands, best to leave your furry friend at home, but please make sure your house is well ventilated.

  • Pets need hydration too.

Whether you are indoors or out, both you and your pet need constant access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so be sure to check her bowl several times a day to be sure it’s full and if you venture out and about, bring plenty of water with you!

  • Let’s not forget the sunscreen.

Even though fur provides some protection from the sun, your pet is still susceptible to getting sunburned.  Consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen that is formulated especially for pets, particularly if he/she has light skin/fur and on those sensitive, less-coated areas such as the ears and abdomen.  

  • Certain pets don’t deal with heat as well as others.

Elderly, very young, and ill animals have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on steamy summer days.  Brachycephalic breeds with pushed-in noses, such as Pugs, Pekingese, and Bulldogs, have a hard time cooling themselves since they cannot pant efficiently.  They too should stay out of the heat.  Overweight dogs have the tendency to trap heat in their bodies, restricting their breathing capabilities. In extreme heat, it may be best to keep them indoors and to avoid strenuous exercise.  Try to save exercise time for mornings or evenings, away from hot sidewalks, and brutal mid-day sun and keep the walks to a gentle pace, overdoing it can cause your pet to overheat. 

  • Be water-wise.

Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake (remember not all dogs are expert swimmers).  If you do plan on taking your dog into the water, best to have a doggie life jacket.  Also, beware of the possible chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach upset.  Other natural "doggie bowls," such as puddles, ponds and bay water—may contain parasites.  Remember to wipe out your dog’s ears after swimming with a gauze or cotton ball in order to eliminate any potential swimmer’s ear.

  • Travel with safety in mind.

If you are traveling with your pet, be certain he/she wears current ID tags and consider microchipping them if you haven’t already.  Always keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.  Check ahead to make sure your hotel/campground allows pets.  If traveling by plane, best to check with your airline regarding their requirements for pets, such as needing a current health certificates for your pet prior to flying, etc. 

If it turns out you are unable to vacation with your pets, our staff would be happy to extend our boarding services to you, in which your pet will receive the same love and care he/she would get at home and be regularly monitored by our veterinary staff to ensure his/her health and happiness. 

With ample precaution and following the above tips, both you and your wet-nosed friend can enjoy these long, hot ‘dog days of summer’.