MANHATTAN – The Fourth of July is finally here, and with the celebration comes fireworks, barbecues and outdoor fun for all; including our furry, four-legged friends. The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health cares for companion animals as much as people do.
The big booms and bangs from the firecrackers this weekend are exciting for us, but could scare a pet. Keeping youar pet on a leash is highly recommended to keep them from running away, exhausting themselves or getting lost. Exercise pets early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the extreme heat. If one do have to walk a pet during the day, walk them in the grass to avoid burning their paws on the hot sidewalk.
The sunshine and warm weather also mean more responsibility to care for pets. If a pet is outside during the hottest part of the day, the most important thing for owners to remember is to provide enough water for them. Dogs and cats do not sweat like humans, but instead use their lungs to cool down. Panting is a sign your pet is getting warm. Providing ample amounts of shade is also a good way to help keep your pet cool.
Another consideration is automobile travel with your companions.
“Never leave animals in your car,” said Dr. Michael Faurot, Kansas Department of Agriculture Animal Facilities Inspection program director. “The temperature can rapidly rise and increase your pet’s likelihood of heat stroke.” If a pet does jump in the car, go through a drive-through, shop at pet friendly stores or bring a friend along to play with your pet as errands are run.
If a pet does overheat, the most common signs of heat stroke include: heavy breathing, rapid heart rate, drooling, vomiting, dazed appearance and collapse. If one see any of these signs, bathe your pet in cool, not cold, water and immediately call a local veterinarian.
Long weekends, with lots of sunshine, are also a perfect time to hit up the lake. Before one throws that floating toy out for a dog to retrieve, look for blue-green algae on the water. What are blue-green algae? Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are microscopic organisms found naturally in all types of water. The algae can grow or bloom on stagnate and warm bodies of water. The algae is easily seen floating on top of the water and is a blue-green color, like the name suggests. Sometimes, the algae can produce a toxin that can be harmful when ingested.
This is a problem at Veterans Memorial Lake in Great Bend and elsewhere in the state.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention lists the common signs of blue-green algae poisoning as being: loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, stumbling, foaming at the mouth, diarrhea, convulsion, excessive drooling and seizures.
If one sees their pet with any of these symptoms after playing in the water, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has information on their website about blue-green algae and lakes in Kansas under advisory and warning. One can also receive up-to-date lake conditions at this Toll Free Number: 1-855-HAB-LAKE (1-855-422-5253).
The best way to prevent a pet from getting sick from blue-green algae is to avoid contact. If a pet decides to take a swim in some water with a bloom, wash him or her off right away with clean water to keep them from licking it off their fur.
For more information, visit the Pet Poison Helpline and consult your local veterinarian.
One can also contact the Kansas Department of Agriculture with further questions at 785-564-6700.