April is Active Dog Month
The month of April is Active Dog Month. This month-long…
Dogs can be a critical part of a farm’s workforce and daily operations. They provide protection and assistance with livestock movement, as well as much-needed companionship. Since dogs can be crucial to keeping a farm running, they are an investment that needs to be protected and properly cared for.
Being outdoors, farm dogs are exposed to a number of risks. One major risk to farm dogs is worms and parasites. A few of the most common are as follows:
Consult a veterinarian about appropriate vaccination and deworming plans. Vaccinations, once initially administered, should be boostered annually. For other pests, such as fleas, ticks, flies and other insects, suitable protection can be collars, sprays or shampoos.
In the summer, serious problems that farm dogs can face are dehydration and heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises unnaturally high. Darker-colored dogs with thick coats are more prone to heat stroke. Symptoms include lethargy or dizziness, decreased urination, refusal to eat, sunken eyes and dry or dark red gums.
To prevent heat stroke and dehydration, farm dogs need unrestricted access to clean, fresh water and lots of cool shade. Wet dog food can also provide extra hydration in the summer. If a dog is exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke, it needs to be cooled down immediately by removing it from environmental heat, bringing it to an air conditioned setting and placing the animal in front of a fan. Overheated dogs can also be immersed in cool water (not ice cold) for a few minutes and cold packs can be placed on the dog’s groin and paw pads. A veterinarian should be called immediately if the dog does not cool down within 30 minutes.
In the winter, hypothermia is the biggest risk to outdoor farm dogs. Extreme cold can cause a dog’s body temperature to drop very low. Symptoms can be violent shivering, slow pulse and trouble breathing, lethargy and muscle stiffness. Many common farm breeds can handle cold weather well, but in the interest of the dog’s safety, preventative measures should be taken, including:
Because dogs are typically working animals they can be at greater risk for health concerns or accidents. Typical expenditures for general veterinarian visits can be $75 to $300 and for accidents or emergencies, costs can range from $400 to $1,000 depending on what needs to be done. Farm dog owners may want to consider pet insurance to protect the investment in their pet. A company such as PetFirst offers comprehensive coverage for illnesses, accidents, genetic conditions, and emergency care, including chronic conditions, and breed-specific or hereditary conditions. PetFirst also offers coverage for senior dogs and cats and multiple pet families.
Farm dogs can be great companions as well as an essential part in the workings of a farm, however they do need to be properly cared for and protected. As outdoor pets, dogs can encounter issues such as worms and parasites, as well as seasonal problems such as dehydration and heat stroke or hypothermia. Preventative measures can be taken, but accidents do happen and having pet insurance is a good way for farm owners to protect the investment in their dog.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.