Spring Into Summer

Easter and Spring Break signal the coming of warmer weather and summer fun. Some things you can do to prepare your canine and feline companions for fun in the sun.

If your pets have long hair or thick coats that you had let go "au naturale" through the winter, it may be time for them to visit a good groomer.  Depending on the breeds and lifestyles, an appropriate trim will keep your pets comfortable and safe as they mingle at the local dog parks or beaches.

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Parasite Control
Although we recommend year round parasite control in Southern California, some people do stop using preventatives over the cooler winter months.  Restart flea control and be prepare for the warmer summer days.  Even if your companions spend most of their time indoors, they bound to pick up fleas on their walks -- and bring them back to your home to multiply.  Fleas can give your pets more than just itchiness.  Products such as Sentinel also takes care of heartworm and intestinal parasites, e.g. whipworms and roundworms.

This 2008 chart has a good summary of the different flea control products available.  Some recent notable changes to that chart include: Advantage II replacing Advantage; upcoming discontinuation of Promeris; and introduction of generic fipronil products. The wide array of flea control products can be confusing.  Advantage, Frontline Plus, Sentinel/Program and/or Comfortis are often used for our patients --- it all depends on the pet's lifestyle and client's preference. If you are not familiar with the flea control products, please consult your family veterinarian.

General Physical Exam
You do not have to wait for your pets to be sick before taking them in for a physical exam and consultation with your family veterinarian.  A wellness visit, especially if one has not been done within a year (or 6 months for seniors and pets with chronic medical conditions), is a great time to go over preventative health care and general concerns.
This is also the perfect opportunity to discuss any noise and fireworks phobias with your veterinarian.  July 4th is not that far away. Starting early on behavior modification may help us avoid drugs (i.e. tranquilizers) during the festivities.
Vaccinations for boarding requirements are usually best done at least 2 weeks before checking your pets into pet lodges.  If you have travel plans for the summer, discuss vaccine requirements with your veterinarian to ensure a safe boarding experience for your pets.

Spring Blooms and Summer Heat
Warm weather dangers deserve a separate article.  Briefly, though, as we enjoy Spring and get ready for Summer, please remember:

* Heat Risks: Limit dog exercise to cooler times of the day. Do not leave unattended pets in parked cars.
* Gardening Risks: Check with the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center to be sure your plants are pet-safe.

Certain diseases are more prevalent in some regions than others, i.e. heartworm and Lyme disease.  Please consult your family veterinarian for specifics in your area.