(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
With the country beginning to reopen, don’t forget about your pet. While you return to your favorite summer activities including hiking and swimming with your dogs, it is important to be aware of a few things first. Senior Technical Services Veterinarian at Bayer Animal Health, Dr. Zach Miller, shared these four simple tips to keep your pets happy and active in the coming months:
• Transition your dog back into a normal routine. Many Americans have been home due to COVID-19 restrictions, in turn making their pets very happy. Over time, your dog may have become used to the non-stop attention, so reverting back to our normal schedules where many will be out of the house more often may cause separation anxiety among pets. To help ease your dog into the transition, start by creating a predictable routine and slowly getting them used to you not being home. Grab your keys and leave the house at the same time each morning for a short period of time. This will help them get used to the action of you leaving, without going cold turkey. As time goes on, you can stay away from home longer, until your pet no longer experiences anxiety.
• Don’t forget to stay on top of flea and tick prevention. During the summer months, pet owners tend to bring their pets along for their many outdoor adventures. While enjoying the great outdoors, whether you’re on a hike or going for an afternoon walk, it’s important to help protect your pets from pests including fleas and ticks. A recent survey conducted by the makers of Seresto found that nearly half (48%) of pet owners who use a monthly flea and tick medication forgot to apply the treatment at least once over the past six months. These lapses in treatment can open pets up for new infestations or cause expensive treatment setbacks. A great way to overcome these forgotten doses is to instead use a flea and tick preventative that doesn’t require monthly application – like a Seresto collar, which prevents fleas and ticks for eight continuous months. This eliminates the hassle of remembering and applying monthly treatments and creates no mess because of its non-greasy formula.
• Be cautious of stagnant bodies of water. It’s natural to want to let your pets play in a body of water in warmer temperatures, especially if you begin venturing out for hikes or camping. However, many pet owners are unaware of the danger that swimming in stagnant ponds or lakes may pose for animals. Blue-green algae, commonly found in stagnant bodies of water, can be potentially lethal to animals when ingested, causing particularly catastrophic harm to their liver. As a pet owner, it’s best to make sure your dog avoids drinking or playing in standing water with a visible film on its surface. Help your dog cool down by bringing plenty of water along with you instead!
• Reach out to your vet to find out about any new protocols. Because COVID-19 restrictions vary by state, one of the most important things to do as a pet owner is proactively reach out to your local vet clinic to find out more about their current policies. If you have an emergency, are they accepting walk-ins or are they by appointment only? Are they currently doing wellness exams? By taking the time to find out protocols of these locations, you and your pet will be prepared in case of an emergency.
There are still many unknowns about what the future will hold. Keeping your pet happy and protected doesn’t have to be one of them!
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)