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Lassie's vet answers questions about summer dangers

Many good questions came in to Lassies vet Sofie when we asked you via our social media to ask questions on the theme of summer! Here are some of the answers to your questions.

Increased temperatures

  • How often does your dog need to drink in summer? Should you always bring water for your dog?

Dogs are sensitive to heat as they can't sweat the way we do. Hydration needs vary with temperature, activity and the dog. A small dog is more likely to become dehydrated than a large one. If you know you'll be out for a long time on a hot summer's day, it's a good idea to carry extra water for your dog. Remember that a dog can overheat even if it has drunk enough if it is exposed to high temperatures - for example in a hot car. For shorter walks on a cooler summer day, extra water is usually not necessary, but offer your dog fresh water when you get home.

  • Can a dog get heat stroke? How can you tell?

Yes, dogs can get heat stroke. It can happen to animals exposed to high temperatures without the opportunity to seek shade and coolness, for example in a hot car or if the animal is left in direct sunlight on a hot summer day. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, so it's important to be alert to early signs of overheating. These may include severe panting, drooling, shade seeking and bright red mucous membranes in the mouth. The animal may appear anxious or more lethargic than usual. If it goes on longer, the animal may start vomiting, have difficulty breathing and faint.

Bath

  • My dog usually drinks water from the lake we swim in. Could it be dangerous for him in any way?

I would generally be wary of letting your dog drink from lakes and seas during the period July-September when the water is at its warmest and may contain dangerous algae. You can't always tell from the water whether it contains algae or not, so it's better to err on the side of caution if you don't know the status of the water. There is also a risk of the dog ingesting bacteria, parasites and viruses from stagnant lake water in particular, so I would be cautious about letting the dog drink water outside even during the rest of the year.

Insect bites and ticks

  • Do I need to see a vet if my dog is stung by a wasp/bee?

A wasp or bee sting is rarely dangerous for your dog or cat, so you don't usually need to seek veterinary care. There may be a small local swelling at the site of the sting and the animal may become a little sore. Like humans, some animals can have an allergic reaction to an insect bite. If the dog becomes generally affected or swells considerably, you should contact a vet. If the dog is stung around the face, mouth or throat, you should also consult a vet as severe swelling can affect the animal's ability to breathe.

  • Which tick remover should I buy for my 4-month-old puppy?

There are many different over-the-counter and prescription tick repellents on the market. Most preparations are safe and work well if the puppy is over 8 weeks old and weighs more than 2 kilos. Which one is right for your puppy may depend on its weight, coat, bathing routine and whether there are young children or other animals in the family. Personally, I like the chewable tablets that last 12 weeks as they are effective, easy to administer and usually only need to be refilled 1-2 times per season.

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