Climate Change and Our Pets

Blog by Associate Judy Hardy

Next Wednesday we celebrate the Feast of St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs. So today seems like a good time to look at how we can protect our canine and feline friend by doing our part to prevent climate change.

We may not consider this, but climate change affects our pets.  Our pets will endure the same hotter weather, hurricanes, and floods that afflict humans. In addition, there are unseen dangers, like parasites and diseases, that climate change can make worse.

The evidence about parasites becoming more dangerous is real:

These pests are on the move because of warmer and wetter weather. Current climate conditions are now more favorable than ever for these parasites to be infective for longer times. In fact, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) released a report stating that climate change has a direct impact on the life cycle of ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, and intestinal and respiratory parasites.

Often, the pet-loving public and even veterinarians aren’t aware that certain parasitic diseases — like heartworm or Lyme disease — have invaded their region. As a result, many pets don’t get any or adequate prevention, particularly when a parasite is new to the neighborhood.

Climate change is putting our pets at higher risk for: heartworm; tick-borne diseases; flea infestations and associated diseases; and GI and respiratory parasitic disease

Fleas have always been a problem since they can survive indoors. Many parts of the country with cold winters could treat their pets in the warm “flea season.” Warmer temps in the fall and spring, however, means year-round flea treatment is necessary.

Being aware of how climate change affects pets means you’ll know what parasitic diseases to watch out for. And then you can help protect your pets before they become sick.

Recent extreme weather events is another reason to be aware of how climate change affects our pets. The destruction of homes and displacement of families affect pets’ well-being. While pets can be lost or killed in a severe hurricane, storm, flood, or fire, they may also become homeless.

Create an evacuation plan that considers your pet’s needs as well as your own in the case of an impending severe weather event.

Our pets are the source of much joy in our lies.  Being aware of the possible effects of climate change on pets can help us be prepared to protect them.

Source: Petful,  Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMDcontributor


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

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