Pet Safety Tips for Summertime

While the summer season brings vacation time, sun, and fun, it can also bring some dangers. Here are a few concerns to monitor for your pets’ safety in the summer.

1. Ticks.
With increased time outdoors your pet’s exposure to Ticks also increases. Make sure to check your pet after any walks, especially through wooded areas where wildlife (the carrier of ticks) are abundant. If you do find a tick attached, and feel comfortable to remove it, do so. If not, bring your pet to the veterinarian for it to be safely removed. Ticks can carry a number of Dangerous Diseases, including Lyme disease, with symptoms that are difficult to spot, so it’s best to keep your pet on tick prevention medication, which you can get through your veterinarian.

2.Heatstroke
This is especially a concern in the full heat of summer months. Be cognizant that times of full sun increase risk of heat stroke so you should try to limit walks to dusk/dawn when it is cooler. If your pet is outdoors try to limit their direct sun exposure by providing a shaded area as well as having a fresh, clean water source available. Using ice cubes, frozen treats, kiddie pools and sprinklers or hoses are great ways to cool your dog off. If your dog has been outside for a time longer than he/she is accustomed to and you note: excessive lethargy, decreased appetite, excessive panting this could be heat stroke and you should take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. Pools and Water
Beyond popular belief, not all animals are able to swim. If it is their first trip in the pool, they should be escorted by a human to assure they actually can swim, and then be shown the appropriate area to safely exit. Showing them where the steps are and assisting them out may prevent future accidents. Also, pools and lakes/oceans can carry chlorine, salts, and bacteria that could be harmful to your pet so make sure to rinse them off after a swim as well as providing fresh water for them to stay hydrated after exercise.

4. Cars
We have all been guilty of running into the store for a quick errand while the dog remains in the car. Summertime, however, is not the season to fit in those quick errands! Even a mere few minutes in a car when the temperature is elevated can lead to a dog to suffering from heat stroke, and possibly even death.

6. Bee Stings
Our pets are curious critters and that inquisitive nature may lead them into some bad luck of running into a bee while sniffing around outside. While some stings may cause a yelp and a bit of local discomfort, others may have serious effects. If there is a lot of swelling or if his/her breathing seems labored, call your veterinarian for recommended action.

7. Sidewalks/concrete/asphalt
Pavement gets hot! Imagine walking in your bare feet on a surface and asking yourself if that would hurt as a good litmus test for if it would hurt your pet. Place the back of your hand on the pavement – are you able to hold it there without discomfort for more than a few seconds? If no then it is too hot for your pet to walk on. Limit their exposure to these potentially hot surfaces and again, walking at dusk and dawn the surfaces will be much cooler. They even have booties at pet stores that some dogs may tolerate to protect their feet if exposure cannot be avoided.

8. Barbecues
Our pets look forward to these feasts just as much as us, due to all the extra table scraps they may receive. Of course we all like to treat our pets, but certain foods can be toxic. Grapes, onions, and garlic are all toxic to dogs and in some cases cause irreparable harm. Corncobs are extremely indigestible and can cause intestinal obstructions requiring surgical removal. In addition, extra fatty foods and spicy sauces can cause pancreatitis. which in some cases causes severe illness and hospitalization to treat. Another thing to keep in mind is extra food means weight gain which in turn brings its own set of health issues. It’s also helpful to speak with guests before the party and politely remind them if your pet has any allergies, a special diet, or other dietary concerns that table scraps would aggravate.

Keep in mind a bit of increased awareness for these dangers will help keep your furry friends safe this summer!

By Tamara Borland VMD