Health and Safety Tips

Health and Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Having a pet is no small responsibility, and it’s our job to keep you informed and educated about potential dangers, health-boosting habits, recommended routines, and more.

General Tips

Here are some everyday tips for keeping your pet happy, healthy, and safe.

  • See our Wellness Exams page to learn about our approach to preventive medicine and helping your pet stay healthy at every stage—and helping you stay within your budget!
  • Provide your pet with plenty of drinking water at all times.
  • Make sure your pet is getting sufficient exercise on a daily basis.
  • It’s also important to keep your pet well-groomed to prevent hair mats and tangles, keep them cool, and prevent skin irritation and infection. Make brushing a routine, and trim overgrown areas as needed.
  • Know where your pet is at all times—if you can’t see them, they might be in a vulnerable spot. Check your driveway and keep your pet safely out of the street.
  • Find specific toys for your pet that can’t be easily swallowed or chewed into pieces that can cause choking, intestinal obstruction, and/or internal injury. Foreign body ingestion is all too common among dogs and cats, and often requires surgical intervention.
  • Preventing parasites is easier than treating them once they’ve become a serious problem, and should be a permanent fixture in your pet’s health routine. Along with fleas and ticks, heartworm disease is a life-threatening condition transmitted by mosquitoes. Call our hospital at (305) 852-5252 for more information about parasite prevention.
  • To minimize your pet’s exposure to parasites and to prevent parasite breeding, we recommend:
    • Keeping your yard clear of feces
    • Dumping out any standing water (including watering cans, planters, flower pot saucers, etc.)
    • Clearing away leaf litter
    • Keeping trees and bushes trimmed back
  • Giant Bufo Toads, or Cane Toads, secrete a highly toxic substance from glands located on the back of the head behind the ears when they are handled or feel threatened. While these amphibians are not native to the US, they have been sighted in the Upper Keys and are therefore a threat to some of our patients. The Bufo Toad’s toxic secretions can cause skin irritation and burning of the eyes in humans, and can be deadly to dogs and cats if ingested. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, call (305) 852-5252 immediately. Signs of Bufo Toad poisoning include:
    • Drooling
    • Crying
    • Head-shaking
    • Loss of coordination
    • Convulsions
    • Seizures
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    Weather Safety

    As enjoyable as the weather can be down here in Key Largo, it can still pose some hazards to your pet.

    • When your pet is staying outside, make sure they have a ventilated, well-shaded area to shelter from the heat and sun.
    • Never, ever leave your pet by themselves in a vehicle. Whether the car is parked in the shade or the sun, the inside of the vehicle can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes.
    • Keep exercise to a minimum on especially hot days; it’s much easier for your pet to over-exert themselves, which can put them at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Not sure if the outside temperature is safe for your pet? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.
    • See our page about hurricane preparation and make sure you and your pet have a plan in place.