Vet Blog

Seasonal Tips for Pet Owners

April 07, 2021

We experience all kinds of interesting weather here in Houston, Texas and surrounding areas including West University Place and Belleaire.

While we're used to routine occurrences like hurricanes and thunderstorms, we don't always consider how the weather affects our pets. Furthermore, when the seasons change, so does our environment, and these changes can potentially be dangerous. Below, our veterinary team has provided some important seasonal pet health and safety tips-each season has its share of hazards, and we want you and your pet to be prepared

Summer Pet Safety Tips

Summer days in Houston, TX easily exceed 90 degrees, and such extreme temperatures aren't just dangerous for people. Our pets lack the ability to sweat as efficiently as we do, and their fur coats don't help, either. Heatstroke is highly probable for animals that are kept outside without adequate shade and freshwater. Leaving your pet unattended in the car while you run errands can also be extremely dangerous. Even with the windows open, very little air will enter the vehicle, and it won't cool down your pet. The inside of a car can heat up from 70 degrees to 90 in a matter of minutes. Leaving your pet in these conditions can be fatal.

Hot sidewalks are another pet safety hazard. Walking on sun-baked asphalt can burn your pet's paw pads, which are not protected by fur. Walking on hot ground can also raise your pet's overall body temperature.

The key to getting through the summer without incident is to always consider your pet's safety when taking them outdoors. On unusually hot days, leave your pet inside where they can enjoy the air conditioning. If they're outside, make sure they have a well-shaded place to relax, along with plenty of fresh, cool water. A small wading pool can also help your pet keep their body temperature down.

Fall Pet Reminders

Early fall is typically when hurricane season gets more active in the Houston, TX area, and we may see a lot of other storms around this time as well. Some pets become very anxious when they hear loud noises, especially thunder. If your pet is averse to loud noises, we recommend talking with your veterinarian to find a solution. We can find a safe, healthy way to ease your pet's anxiety and help them get through noisy events with minimal trouble.

As the season progresses, the weather will get cooler, and likely become more damp, too. This can trigger fungus growth on or around your lawn, resulting in poisonous mushrooms taking up residence on your property. Some mushrooms can be fatal for pets if ingested, so be sure to keep a lookout for these pesky fungi.

Winter Pet Hazards

It may be unusual for Houston, TX to see ice or experience below-freezing temperatures, but stranger things have happened! Our pets can develop frostbite just like we can if they're left out in the cold for too long, especially if they have a finer and/or shorter coat. Their paw pads are also very vulnerable.

If your pet prefers to be outside, make sure they have a warm, dry shelter elevated several inches above the ground. Fill it with straw to absorb moisture and include soft, dry bedding. Also, make sure that your pet has access to fresh water and food. If the temperature drops to freezing or lower, we recommend bringing your pet indoors.

Does your pet enjoy being active during the winter months? Invest in a winter jacket and protective booties in their size. They might look silly, but these items will afford your pet much-needed protection from the elements. Booties can also protect your pet's paws from sidewalk salt, which can irritate their feet.

Spring Suggestions for Pets

Flowers can brighten up any home and garden, but certain plants are highly poisonous for pets. Amaryllis, various types of lily, daffodils, azaleas, tulips, crocuses, oleander, and sago palm can all make your pet very sick. Avoid keeping any of these plants in your home if your pet is known for getting into things, and keep them out of your yard, too. Poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak are just as dangerous for our pets as they are for us, so be sure to check around your home for these pesky plants as well.

Spring brings plenty of rain, resulting in lots of standing water. Lakes, puddles, creeks, etc. are full of various bacteria that can make your pet ill. Don't let your pet drink from these water sources, and try to keep them from walking in standing water, too. The tiniest cut or scrape on your pet's leg or paw can be vulnerable to infection.