Hot temps and Chicago’s rat population may be harmful to your pets: DVM Natalie Marks talks safety tips, FearFree mission

Matt Bubala and Dr. Natalie Marks (WGN Radio)

Dr. Natalie Marks, Veterinarian and Medical Director at Blum Animal Hospital, joins The Matt Bubala Show to discuss pet safety tips this summer. As temps begin to rise into the 90 degree range this weekend, Marks discusses the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion in your furry friends.  Besides providing fresh water and shade, there are recommended peak hours where owners can walk their dogs or have pets outside. Marks says animals “don’t don’t sweat like we do.” Pets can lose water from their tongues or paw pads, but it does little to actually cool your furry friends down. If owners begin to notice signs that may put your pet into a life-threatening situation, like heavily panting or gum discoloration, get medical attention immediately.  Other tricks cool your pet down are to use wet towels or rubbing alcohol on their paw pads.

Besides heat exhaustion, another issue this year is ticks. Marks says that this is the “worst year on record,” so it’s very important to give tick and flea medication at the proper regimented times. She says that ticks can get on humans and these little creatures are known to survive through many conditions, opening grounds for diseases. For Chicago residents–this is important. “Chicago just got named the rattiest city in the U.S. and there is bacteria that lives on rodents.” For example, if rodents urinate in standing water sources, it’s possible for dogs and cats to pick up bacteria on their paws.  Marks said that 1 out of 10 pet owners get diagnosed with Leptospirosis. However, if diagnosed early, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Blum Animal Shelter is the first vet clinic in Illinois to implement the FearFree policy, which looks at the ability to consider emotional needs of animals when they make vet visits to make it a more positive experience. Overall, Blum got rated as 7th in the overall country. Owners can also check out this page, or visit Steve Dale’s Pet World. To get information on pet safety, visit Blum Animal Hospital’s website or stop by the Chicago location.