Summer is everyone’s favorite time for vacations, backyard barbecues, and pool parties. You know that when the temperature heats up, you and your family need to take a few precautions to prevent sunstroke and dehydration. However, it’s important not to overlook the dangers that summer can pose for your pets, such as:
Carry water and a portable water bowl on long walks or car rides with your dog. Some animals are especially prone to heat stress – dogs with short noses (pugs and bulldogs); pets with dark skin and fur; overweight animals; pets with thick coats (Himalayan and Persian cats). Brush your pet more frequently during summer to remove excess or matted fur that can contribute to overheating.
Cars: Every summer, we hear sad stories of dogs being left in hot cars and dying. If you must leave your dog in your car while running into the store, leave the car in a shady spot with all the windows open. Better still, take your dog with you and tie him up in a shady area with some water.
Hot Sidewalks: If you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, the sidewalk may also fry your dog’s paws (the same goes for hot sand). Avoid asphalt in the summer, and walk your dog in the cooler times of the day. Booties are good if your dog will tolerate them.
Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease. Inspect your dog’s coat for ticks after a romp through the woods, and be especially diligent if he has a thick coat. A tick should be removed using tweezers. Refer to this ASPCA guide for more information. For tick protection, ask your vet about the best kind of tick medication for your type of pet.
In spite of its name, not all dogs are masters of the dog paddle, and some breeds, such as pugs and terriers, often have trouble swimming. When bringing your dog to the beach consider having him wear a flotation device. The bacteria in ponds and lakes can be harmful, so always rinse your dog off after he’s enjoyed splashing around.
Keep your backyard free of tall grass and piles of wood or debris where snakes like to hide out. Read this guide on snake bite prevention. Symptoms of snake bite include swelling, especially in the face. If your pet has been snakebit, get him to a vet right away.
5. Bee Stings
That buzzing sound may cause your pet to investigate. While curiosity may not kill your cat (or dog), it may result in getting them stung. Bee stings may cause swelling. If there’s a lot of it and your pet is breaking out in hives, he is having an allergic response – take him to the vet immediately.
6. Family Cookouts
Be careful of tossing your dog tidbits. Some foods are toxic to dogs – chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic. Here are some other food items to be wary of.
Meat with barbecue sauce: The sauce can cause diarrhea.
Meat with bones: Bones can splinter and adversely impact the GI system.
Corn on the cob and fruits with pits: Can be choking hazards.
Foods with toothpicks: A toothpick can pierce the intestines.
Ice cream: Some dogs can be lactose intolerant.
Summer Can be Safe
Summer dangers may sound scary, but with a little care, both you and your pet can enjoy the season. To read more about hot weather tips, click on this report from the ASPCA. However, if your pet does need emergency treatment because of a summer-related hazard and you live in or near Columbia, South Carolina, rush your pet to us. CVETS knows how to treat pets brought to us during the hot months with a variety of problems – so don’t delay, your pet’s wellbeing may depend on it.