Keep Pets Healthy During Summer, Careers Working with Animals, Adopt a Purebred Dog, and More Advice from a Vet

A vet offers advice on how to keep your pet healthy and parasite-free during the summer, careers working with animals, how to keep your dog from eating its feces, how to adopt a purebred dog, and help for those grieving over the loss of a pet.

| June/July 1992

It's summertime and the living is easy. Your dog is out all day swimming, catching frisbees, or just napping in the shade. Your cat is chasing mice and butterflies, hiding in the grass, basking in the sun. Time to kick back and let sleeping dogs lie.

Not exactly.

Summer is probably the most demanding season for pets. Aside from the parasitic infestations, animals may experience allergies, a need for dietary changes, and problems related to heat. All of these problems can be averted by an aware and responsible pet owner.

Be certain that your dog has had a yearly heartworm test. Heartworm is a parasite carried by mosquitoes. Its larvae invade the heart and lungs of a dog, causing enlarged hearts, heart failure, and, eventually, death. By testing your dog, you can treat the disease if present, or protect him from acquiring it.

There are a number of heartworm preventatives on the market now. Most of them work retroactively—the pill taken in June protects the dog in May. Some of the heartworm preventatives will also protect the dog against other parasitic worm infestation. Ask your vet which is right for your dog.

Fleas are an ongoing menace all their own. In addition to making your dog scratch, fleas carry tapeworm larvae that can be transmitted to your cat or dog via their bites (many animals are allergic to flea bites as well). Controlling flea infestations takes time and diligence, but it can be done. Brush and comb your animal daily. Vacuum daily. Supplement his food with garlic and brewer's yeast. Bathe your pet in an herbal repellent shampoo like Dr. Bronner's Eucalyptus or a similar mild shampoo containing tea tree oil, peppermint, or citronella on a weekly basis during the height of the flea season.

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