The large Colorado River toads we see around here excrete a substance through a gland behind the eye that acts as a neurotoxin. Unsuspecting dogs that put these toads in their mouths can exhibit neurological symptoms such as difficulty walking, seizures and paralysis. It’s a good idea to teach your dog to avoid toads. But if he has gotten hold of one, flush his mouth out with a garden hose but aim the spray sideways so the toxin is washed out of the mouth, not down the throat. Most dogs do recover but the toxin can be life threatening. If the condition worsens, see a veterinarian. A toad sitting in a dog’s water dish can also make the dog ill, so keep dishes clean.
Rattlesnakes are now out and about, in fact our clinic recently treated its first rattlesnake bite of the season so be aware. If your pet is bitten get to a veterinarian right away. But prevention is preferred. A vial of rattlesnake antivenin is very expensive so if your dog can’t stay away from snakes consider the rattlesnake vaccine or “snakeproofing” your pet through a variety of snake-avoidance techniques.
Do you have a pool…and a pet? Many pets love the water but even good swimmers may be bad at finding their way out so teach them where the steps are. Many dogs love to go for rides in the car with you but it’s getting warmer out and even temperatures in the 8o’s can be dangerous for pets left in hot cars which can quickly heat up to over 100 degrees or more. If you can’t take the pet into the store with you, leave him at home. Recently, a cute pup, nicknamed “Cactus Jack” was featured on the local news after getting involved with a cactus plant. Many pets get cactus spines stuck on their muzzles and elsewhere and extracting them can be a lengthy, painful process so teach your pet to avoid them.
Adjust your pet’s exercise routine just as you adjust yours. Walk your dog very early in the morning or at sunset or later. Remember, hot pavement hurts their paws just as it would your bare feet. And finally, if you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.
And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is….October