Fun times are ahead! As we get out yards and homes summer ready, don’t forget to prepare your pets as well! Below are four tips to help you get your pet summer ready. I have included some natural tips under each section.
Depending on where you live, you may need to start heartworm prevention for the summer. We are lucky in Boulder County to have very little heartworm disease. Some parts of the US require year round prevention due to year round mosquitos. Talk with your local veterinarian to learn about the best protocol for your geographic location.
Be sure to consider heartworm prevention when you travel to new locations. For example, my patients living in Boulder have no need to prevent heartworm in the winter but should start prevention before traveling to a state, such as Florida, in which heartworm disease is very prevalent.
In my practice, my choice for heartworm prevention is ivermectin. In my practice, we use Heartgard. I like ivermectin because it is in and out of the body quickly. It comes in a chew tab with food ingredients and a non-flavored tablet for those dogs with food allergies. There are a lot of products out there, do your research and consult with your veterinarian.
Holistic Tip. There are some holistic veterinarians claiming to prevent heartworm disease naturally. I haven’t tried these protocols for two reasons. First, heartworm disease is not prevalent in the Boulder area. I would have no way to measure the efficacy of this protocol as most of my patients are such low risk for contracting heartworm disease. The second reason is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking on the risk of one of my patient’s contracting heartworm disease. The treatment is harsh and the prevention is easy.
Have you used natural protocols to prevent heartworm disease? I would love to hear about them. Comment below this blog as I would love to hear all about it.
Want to learn more about heartworm disease? Check out the American Heartworm Society.
It’s good to have a plan of how you might handle a flea and tick problem with your dogs and cats. The Boulder area is fortunate enough to see very little flea and tick cases. I see a flea or two a year, maybe. Most of my clients do not have to plan for these critters unless travelling to other parts of the country.
There are products you can apply to your dog that will help control fleas and ticks up to 30 days. Frontline and Advantage are effective in this area of the country. It is important to note that many pockets of the US have parasites that may be resistant to certain products. Check with your local veterinarian. While these products are not natural, they tend to be very effective.
Holistic Tip. If you would like to take a natural approach to fleas, try Flea Busters. I have had many reports of success using this system, although, it can be time intensive.
How do you control fleas and ticks?
Get ready for travel
Many people board their pets or hire pet sitters while they take their summer vacations. This often requires planning ahead as many boarding facilities require vaccines or titer testing. I discourage my clients from vaccinating their pets with more than one vaccine in one day. Contact your boarding facility ahead of time and see what vaccines are required. Make a plan with your veterinarian to spread those vaccine out before your stay at the kennel/boarding facility. Many facilities will allow titer testing in place of the distemper/parvovirus vaccine.
If you would like to avoid a boarding facility, be sure to find a qualified pet sitter that can stay at your house. These services often book out weeks to months in advance. Be sure to leave them written instructions and list of emergency contacts.
Holistic Tip. Using an in home pet sitter can lessen the amount of vaccines that you give your pet over their lifetime. If boarding in a facility is a must, use titer testing instead of vaccinating whenever possible. It is important to note that while Rabies titer testing is available, it is not a valid replacement (in most cases) for the vaccine.
Avoid the heat
Unfortunately, many pets lose their life or are seriously injured in the heat every summer.
Hot cars are the biggest culprit. While it may feel comfortable outside, cars heat up deceivingly quickly. In Colorado, I do not leave my pug in the car if the outside temperature is above 60 degrees. I have seen well intentioned pet parents lose their pets to heat stroke. Don’t let this happen to you.
Another common place for dogs to become overheated are at outdoor events such as tournaments, festivals and all day events. Be sure to provide your dog with cool water and shade. Dogs with dark coats or flat faces tend to overheat more quickly.
Holistic Tip. In Traditional Chinese Medicine every food has a warming or cooling property. Adding cooling foods in the summer can be a tasty way to ‘cool’ your pet off. Watermelon, zucchini, eggs and apples are ‘cooling’ foods.
As always I would love to hear from you! What are you up to this summer? How will you get your pets ready for the summer? Let me know in the comments below.