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Dog Days of Summer
Summer Pet Reminders

by Dr. Rachel Addleman, DVM, DiplABVP, CVA
Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, Dr. Addleman has advanced training and Board Certification in feline medicine. She practices in Houston, Texas and can be found at AnimalFixer.com

Summer Pet Reminders

Cassie enjoying Houston's summer in her pool!

"The "Dog Days of Summer" means Mother bringing in the family dog. Tagging along, are her two children, home on summer vacation, and their three friends, all climbing over the backs of the waiting-room chairs. Also in attendance, for the exciting visit to the vet, is the other family dog whom the children insist couldn't bare to stay home.

"Sirius", to me, is not a dog star. It is an eighty-pound Arctic breed dog, folding itself over backwards scratching its ears with its back leg. I call this dog breed "I-can’t-believe-you-own-this-dog-in-this-heat" breed, and his itching is producing large clouds of greasy fur shed up into the air like Indian smoke signals.

Someone in the exam room, under the age of ten, inevitably has been dreaming of becoming a veterinarian since birth who cannot keep their face away from my exam table -- claws and needles be damned. I am reminded of myself at that age and how the annual visit to the vet was the highlight of MY summer vacation. But mostly, kids at the vet clinic mean a lot of giggling when they hear "fecal sample”.

In the exam room, with the addition of all the children, the extra dog, and with all the panting and drooling, the humidity begins to rise. I can feel the sweat beading up under my polyester white lab coat. It was white when I started in the morning, but now it is covered with hair.

I admit the ink stains over the lab coat pocket could probably have been avoided, but the hair cannot. I know sweating and dog hair are not professional, but I try to at least keep the coat clean with masking tape 'roller brushes'. Have you priced those lately? Veterinarians are the reason Costco sells them in bulk.

Some people may daydream about swimming pools and freshly squeezed lemonade during the dog days of summer. After a day at the office in the summer, I daydream about a long, cool shower and dogs that don't shed.

Enjoy the wonderful and safe dog days, or cat days, of summer!


  • Don't let your dog overheat in the car because "you'll just run in for a minute".

  • Invest in a kiddy swimming pool for the backyard this year to help your dog cool off. Don't forget to keep the ears flushed afterwards with an ear rinse from your veterinarian to prevent yeast infections.

  • Always put the collar back on immediately after a bath. Dogs zip around the yard to dry off and may zip on down the street.

  • Don't let someone, you already told not to, feed the dog leftovers at a picnic so he won’t have to be treated for diarrhea the next day.

  • If you know your pet is "petrified of fireworks", keep him locked up on the Fourth of July. Sedatives can be helpful, but they won’t keep him from running out the gate your child’s friend left open.

  • If you know your pet is allergic to fleas, don't wait to apply flea treatment in the Houston summer “because you would know if your pet had fleas because you always get bit first". Otherwise, you'll be seeing your veterinarian to treat his rash which is almost never "a scratch from the other pet playing too rough".