Summertime is a fun time for both pets and humans alike. More trips to the dog parks, sports, swimming, and vacation time! But along with this fun come many dangers and risks to your pets. Here are a few of the risks that pose the most danger.
1. Heat stroke
Heat stroke is one of the most dangerous things about the summertime for humans and pets alike. The difference is we can control our surroundings but pets need our help. Pets can quickly overheat and dehydrate. Leaving your pet in a hot car for just a few minutes can be deadly. Temperatures rise approximately 10 degrees every 10 minutes even with windows down. If you are not planning to be in the car at all times with your pet, or are not able to leave the air conditioner running, please leave your pets at home. It is much safer for them.
Brachycephalic dogs are at a more increased risk of overheating, so special attention and care is required when taking these breeds out in the heat.
We recommend walking all dogs first thing in the morning before the sun is at its peak or in the evening when the sun has gone down. If you must walk during times of peak heat, please try to walk your pets in the grass. As a general rule of thumb, if it is too hot for your bare-feet, it is too hot for your pets! Walking your pets on hot cement can cause very painful blisters.
If you are planning to take your pet outdoors, even for a short time please take plenty of water. Putting ceramic or steel bowls with water and ice outside for your pets will help keep them cool and hydrated. Setting up a sprinkler or a small pool for them will also help.
This is a danger many pet owners don’t realize exists. Pets can develop sunburn just like we can. Pets with white or short hair are at a more increased risk for sunburn. Areas that have little to no hair should have sunscreen applied. These areas include but are not limited to the muzzle, belly, inner legs, and inside of the groin. Use sunscreen formulated for pets, while you can use human sunscreens, these can cause a lot of GI upset when ingested by your pet and many pets will try to lick it off.
3. Poisons and Bacteria
There are many poisons lurking during the summertime. From yard treatments, to plants, to backyard bbq’s, be diligent about keeping your pets away from these dangers. If you think your pet has ingested something hazardous call your veterinarian right away!
Swimming in lakes, rivers, and small swimming holes can be a lot of fun! Avoid letting your pet drink any stagnant or sitting water. This water could potentially harbor bacteria that cause leptosporosis. Leptosporosis is spread through the urine of infected animals. According to the CDC it can also enter your pet through their eyes, nose, and mouth as well as any broken skin. This disease impacts a dogs kidneys and liver. There is a yearly vaccine that can help prevent leptosporosis if your pet is a frequent visitor of areas with sitting water.
There are many dangerous bugs to your pets that are prevalent during the summer. Bees can cause allergic reactions to your pets, as well as very painful bite/stinger sites. Many dogs will try to catch bees in their mouths as well. Try to limit this if possible.
Mosquitoes are another hazard to your pets. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquito bites. We recommend keeping your pet on a year-round heartworm preventative.
Fleas and ticks are one of the biggest hazards to your pets. Fleas are nagging incessant bugs that multiply like crazy. They make your dog or cat itch because they bite to take on a blood meal. Many pets have flea allergies as well. Ticks pose lots of health risks as they carry many diseases such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that can be transmitted to your pets. We recommend keeping your pets on a year-round flea and tick preventative to keep these dangers down, while fleas and ticks aren’t as bad in the winter months, they are extremely bad in the summer months, and the flea cycle takes approximately 3 months to break. So keeping your pet on a year round preventative is best.
We also suggest treating indoor only pets as fleas and ticks can attach to your clothing and you can bring them inside.
Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Please keep a life preserver on your dog until you are confident with their ability to swim. Ear infections are also very common after your dog goes swimming. It is best to clean out your pets ears immediately after swimming to reduce the risk of ear infections.
Fireworks are a spectacular event enjoyed by many humans. But fireworks are especially scary for pets. Please do not take your pet to see fireworks with you, they don’t like the loud noises and do not appreciate the light show. They will be much happier at home. A lot of dogs and cats are lost during times of fireworks due to fright. If you will not be home it is best to keep your pet in a secure area with a radio or tv on. If you will have to open your doors, try to secure your pet first so they do not run outside and get lost.
Please try to keep yourself and your pets safe this summer. But if something happens and you feel your pet needs seen please give us a call at 717-957-3991 to schedule an appointment.