Preparing for summer emergencies

dvm360dvm360 July 2023
Volume 54
Issue 7
Pages: 51

A veterinarian explains some summer dangers and how unexpected emergencies can impact clients financially

Masarik /

Masarik /

Whether clients are enjoying the outdoors or traveling this summer, prepare them for summer with their pets. Talking to clients about potential emergencies can help reduce the panic that accompanies them and can lead to improved pet care at home and better financial preparedness. Educate clients on what they may need to do to keep their pet safe during car or airplane travel to help summer plans run more smoothly

Rising temperatures

Weather changes and rising tempera- tures are a pressing concern for pets. One of the main summer threats is heat stroke. “Just a 4-degree internal temperature change could kill your pet within minutes,” Ricky Walther, DVM, an adviser for Pawlicy Advisor, told dvm360 in an email. “Before taking your pet out for a walk, it’s important to consider both the humidity and temperature [because] they will both play a part in heat exhaustion for pets. Temperature should also be consid- ered when taking a pet for a drive. According to Mondrian Contreras, DVM, with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, pets should not be left in a car when the temperature is above 70 ºF, even if the windows are slightly open or the vehicle is on with air conditioning running. “Another thing to keep in mind on hot summer days is the temperature of asphalt. A good to test the ground on the back of your hand. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Burns on paw pads are a very common danger that increases in the late spring and summer months,” said Walther.

Recommend that your clients keep a first-aid kit handy for urgent situations. “I suggest including items like sterile water bottles, wound cleaning supplies, gauze, and any medication your pet [takes]. The items included will all depend on your pet’s unique needs, age, breed, and health condition. Consider asking your veterinarian what they recommend keeping on hand in an emergency.... It is important to remember that it is not a replacement for seeking veterinary care as soon as you are able,” Walther noted. First-aid kits can be stored in homes and cars and taken on hikes or walks.

Preparing financially for unexpected emergencies

When a pet has an emergency, the owner often is faced with a financial hardship. Preparing for emergencies financially beforehand can help alleviate that burden. This starts with effectively communicating with clients about insurance and credit pay plans. Walther noted that he often has these conversations as a veterinary adviser. “First and foremost, we suggest each pet owner get pet insurance sooner rather than later to ensure that the emergency visits will be covered,” he said. “It is important to remember that preexisting conditions are generally not covered by pet insurance, so signing up for a policy while your pet is young and healthy helps ensure that most emergencies will be covered. Consider also having a credit-based care plan such as CareCredit to help with paying for your veterinary bills for those things that may not be covered by insurance. The most important aspect, however, is to keep your pet as healthy as possible with preventive care to save money in the long term.

“According to a recent Pawlicy Advisor survey,1 about 27% of pet [owners] have had to refuse necessary pet care due to finances. When a pet owner has the right pet insurance policy, it can ease the financial burden of an accident or illness. Pet insurance helps ensure that owners are able to get the care they need for their pets to stay safe and healthy while avoiding the potential of putting their dog or cat down due to financial constraints,” Walther said.

Travel saftey

Besides rising temperatures, the summer also brings an increase in travel. And for pet owners, a lot of that travel will include their pet, whether in the car or on an airplane.

A safety harness, crate, or pet seat belt can help keep animals safe while traveling by car, and playing music such as classical can have a calming effect on them, according to Contreras. Owners can also help make travel more comfortable for their pets that experience motion sickness by speaking with their veterinarian about medications to ease those symptoms and, with guidance, administering OTC or prescription drugs. Nelva Bryant, DVM, MPH, a veterinarian with Delta Air Lines, recommends that before the flight, pet owners check policy and procedures for bringing pets on board. She also noted that entry requirements may vary with domestic and international travel and that most places require that a veterinary inspection report accompany the pet and that all vaccinations are up-to-date.


Plotts E. New survey finds US pet owners can’t keep up with rising costs. Pawlicy Advisor. Accessed May 10, 2023.

Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.