Summer Dangers for Pets by Lisa Michalik

T’is the season… FINALLY! Summer is here! Time for camping, swimming, hiking, family BBQs etc. With these very fun activities however, comes many dangers for our furry four footed family members.

Here are some common dangers and tips on how to have a happy and safe summer:

  • Heatstroke/exhaustion: Unlike humans, animals cannot change their wardrobe or turn on the air conditioning to keep comfortable/safe. Please learn the signs of this deadly condition and how to treat quickly. Common targeted problem is people leaving their pets in cars. Even parked in a shaded area with windows down the temperature inside a car can reach deadly temperatures within a few short minutes. Think about how hot YOU feel – now imagine wearing a fur coat. Imagine the panic and fear as you feel your body heating up and you have no way out of the situation. Too many animals die each year due to negligence and lack of common sense. PLEASE never take this risk. Don’t ever say to yourself “I’ll be in and out in less than 5 mins” People get easily distracted, line-ups at the cash register could be longer than anticipated. Pets are better left in the comfort and safety of home on hot days. Keep your pet WELL hydrated as well. Take care with exercise. It’s advised to offer daily walks in the early mornings or late evenings. Avoid strenuous activities during the mid-day when it’s hottest. Always carry fresh water to rehydrate your pets.
  • Swimming: Contrary to popular belief not ALL dogs have an innate ability to swim!  And some just physically can’t…this especially goes for *top heavy* breeds such as pugs. Life vests are available for avid swimmers (dogs AND cats) and also a great idea if you’ll be sailing with your pet. It’s also advised to rinse your pet off after swimming in chlorinated pools, salt water etc. These chemicals can be irritating to the skin. Salt water/chlorine, if ingested, can also cause stomach upset (vomiting/diarrhea) as well as dehydration. Always carry fresh water.
  • Bee Stings: Watch for adverse reactions such as swelling etc. Always have Benadryl as well as the correct dosages for your pet on hand to administer. Monitor closely and seek Veterinary help if necessary.
  • Hot Spots: A common bacterial skin infection that can get out of hand very quickly. Often times difficult to notice until well advanced. Medical treatment by a veterinarian is quick and effective. Keeping your pets well groomed and clean shaved can help prevent hot spots.
  • Parasites: There are many products on the market to aid in the defence of ticks, fleas, mosquitoes etc.  Insect bites can put your pet at risk for skin infections. Plus not to mention they are downright annoying!  Also advisable to consider Lyme vaccination to prevent Lyme disease if your pet is at a higher risk of picking up ticks
  • Garden plants: Many plants are toxic to pets. Many pesticides and other chemicals used for gardening are also dangerous.
  • Sunburn: White, light-coated and thinly coated pets are more at risk. There are sunscreen products available for pets.
  • Burned Foot Pads: Walk your pet during the cooler times of the day or avoid walking on pavement/asphalt/sand etc.  Place your hands on the surface for 30 secs before allowing your dog to walk on it… if it’s painful for you it’ll be painful for him.
  • Travelling: Always make sure your pet is wearing Identification. Your calm and easy-going pet can EASILY become panicked and spooked causing him to bolt. Micro-chipping is another great option as well but since not everyone has a scanner tag identification is still advisable.
  • BBQ’s: Those tasty morsels will be hard to resist. Your pet can quickly snatch a treat from the grill causing not only serious burns to paws and face but also a burned digestive tract. There are also concerns about upset stomach and choking hazard from bones etc. Keep the grill well guarded.  While WE appreciate special treats such as ice cream on a hot day remember that milk products often cause stomach upset and diarrhea. It’s better to NOT share this tasty treat with your pet. Corn on the cob is a common cause of choking and intestinal blockage… AVOID!

Have a safe and happy summer!