Summer is officially here and for many dog owners that means more time outdoors with their furry best friends. Just like humans, pets face new health challenges with the changing seasons. One of the biggest risks for active or even older dogs in summertime is heat stroke. That’s why this month we reached out to our friend and local veterinarian Sharon Bass, for some tips to keep your canine companion safe. Read on to see what we learned…
1. Hi Sharon, and thanks so much for speaking with us today. We know that keeping pets hydrated is of utmost importance, especially in hot weather. More parks and pet-friendly businesses are providing water for pups than ever before. In your professional opinion, are public water bowls for dogs safe?
“No. There are many communicable diseases that are transmitted via a communal water bowl. Two in particular that I see clinically are kennel cough and papilloma warts."
2. What kind of diseases can dogs contract from communal bowls?
“I partially answered this question in your first question. There are many types of viruses and bacteria that cause kennel cough (for example: mycoplasma, parainfluenza virus and many others.) These can all be transmitted via a communal water bowl.”
3. How about natural water sources like puddles, ponds, and streams, are those safe for dogs to drink from?
“The same holds true for natural water sources. The most common infectious disease is a Protozoa called giardia. We see this commonly clinically as well.”
4. This is all great information for us to have and share. One last question, Is there any other advice you can give for keeping dogs healthy as the temperature rises in the summer months?
“The biggest problem we have is that dogs are a lot less heat tolerant than humans. People tend to forget that and will take their pets hiking and running on warm days. Add in the fact that a dog’s resting body temperature is 102 degrees F and a lot of them have heavy coats, you can easily see this can all be deleterious. The other big problem we see is ‘the weekend warrior’ phenomenon. Many of our canine patients lead sedentary lifestyles, and are overweight then on a moments notice they are being asked to go hiking or play frisbee on the beach. Many of them cannot cope with heat and that level of exercise if they are not conditioned.”