Pet tales: Here are some ‘paw-renting’ reminders to know during summer

Published May 30, 2021, 1:04 PM

by Richa Noriega

Summer season surely brings back many fun memories of outdoor activities with our dogs. It may be a fun play in the park, outdoor walk, or a car ride. However, it can also cause harmful effects on our furry friends.

A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) veterinarian shared important reminders that “pawrents” or pet owners must need to know to better manage their pets amid the scorching summer heat.

K9 Handlers bonding time with their Coast Guard Working Dogs. (Photo courtesy of Captain Famela Alejandro-Aspuria)

Parasites, deworm, and vaccine treatments

Captain Famela Alejandro-Aspuria, PCG’s first female veterinarian and commanding officer of the Coast Guard Veterinary Service, said the country’s climate is “ideal for survival dog external parasites such as tick, flea, and mites since they can reproduce all year round.”

“Some pet owners disregard the presence of these parasites especially when there is minimal infestation, but some of these parasites are vectors of blood parasites that cause more serious illness to your pets. So, it is important to give regular preventive medication to your pets,” Alejandro-Aspuria told the Manila Bulletin.

The PCG veterinarian also advised pet owners to deworm their pets regularly since symptoms of intestinal worm infestation will only become apparent when it is severe, “by that time several complications like anemia and gastrointestinal problems may also be present.”

Like humans, vaccines are also important for pets to prevent infectious disease outbreak within community.

“It is also important to have your pets vaccinated with the core vaccines. This will not only protect your pets but also minimize the occurrence of infectious disease outbreak within the community,” she said.

Alejandro-Aspuria encouraged pet owners to discuss which treatment will be the best for their pets as they also have different responses to treatments and what might work or not.

Heat stroke and bathing frequencies

During summer season, pets may also suffer from heat stroke due to the hot weather.

“Make sure that they are always provided with clean drinking water. If kept in a cage, ensure that cage is place in a shaded and well-ventilated area. Also, activities of the dog should be conducted in the early morning or late afternoon when the temperature is not too hot,” the veterinarian said.

Alejandro-Aspuria said summer is also the time when rabies cases rise since it is the mating season for dogs, hence, dog fights are common.

According to the PCG veterinarian, the frequency of bathing a dog depends on the activity and the coat type of the dog.

However, she noted that it is also important to note that dogs have natural oil secretions that protect their skin and make their coat shiny “too much bating may remove them.”

“Bathing of your dogs twice a week is okay. If you feel like or if you have noticed that they are heavily panting you may increase it to every other day, but as much as possible, don’t bathe them every day because it is also important to consider that they produce normal oil secretions from their skin glands which protect their skin and make their coat shiny,” Alejandro-Aspuria said.

Rabies cases and violent incidents

Summer is also a time when rabies cases rise since it is also the mating season for dogs, the veterinarian noted.

“Some of these dogs are not vaccinated and if one of these dogs is infected with rabies, it will spread rapidly through bites,” she said.

The veterinarian, citing the report from the World Health Organization (WHO), said 99 percent of all rabies transmissions come from dogs.

“We encourage you to be responsible pet owners by having your dogs (and cats if you have) vaccinated by your veterinarian, keep them safe whether inside or outside the house, and report to local government authorities any stray animals you may have observed roaming around your community,” she said.

If the pet owner was bitten, the veterinarian recommended to wash bite wounds with anti-bacterial soap and running water, and immediately consult a physician.

Meanwhile, if pets have sudden change in any behavior it could be an indication that they might be suffering from a disease.

“One of the most common diseases that cause sudden change in behavior is rabies which is fatal and can be transmitted to humans through bites of infected animals. Such pets should be treated with caution and be placed in a quiet and secure environment to help them calm down,” Alejandro-Aspuria said.

The veterinarian also reminded that rat poison can cause internal bleeding for pets.

“Another emergency situation that a dog owner may encounter is the accidental ingestion of rat poison (bait) by your dog. Rat poison can cause internal bleeding, nervous signs among others and is also fatal if not treated immediately,” she said.

Alejandro-Aspuria encouraged pet owners to treat pets “humanely and understand their behavior”

“I would say to the other pet owners out there, always love your buddies (be it dog, a cat, or any pet). Give them the right care and attention they need. Treat them humanely and always understand their personality or behavior,” she added.