Summer time means, longer days in the warm sun, more outdoor adventures, barbeques and pool parties with your pooch! Along with all the fun activities, summer time can also bring about some pretty serious hazards. Below is a list of 5 summertime dangers and tips to make sure your furry friends are kept safe during this otherwise exciting season.
- Overheating from outside temperatures
Temperatures outside can soar quickly and without much warning. It is always best to keep an eye on the forecast and avoid taking your dog out during the hottest times of the day. Do not over exert your dog when enjoying outdoor activities. If you do venture outside, make sure your dog has a shady place to rest when needed. Lastly, always have drinking water handy when you are outside. If you do spend time outdoors away from home, bring a portable water dispenser with you. A great one to try, that you can also find online is the Gulpy Water Dispenser for dogs.
If your pet is showing signs of overheating you will need to lower his or her body temperature right away. Put cloths soaked in cold water around paws, armpits, head and neck. It is always good to take your pet to your vet right away if you notice signs of overheating.
Signs of overheating: heavy panting, dry or pale gums, increased drooling, deep and rapid breathing, bright red tongue and mucus membranes that turn gray.
- Hot asphalt
Surfaces such as pavement, asphalt, sand, wood and metals can exceed 145 degrees. These surfaces can stay very hot long after the sun goes down. Check the pavement/asphalt by placing your hand or bare foot on the surface. If you cannot keep it on there for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog. It’s best to stay on grassy surfaces and avoid bare ground when outside in the summer heat. Try and avoid the hottest parts of the day by walking early morning or late in the evening after the pavement has cooled down. If you are concerned about the ground temperature, you can always invest in booties made specifically for your dog’s paws. One sign to watch out for if the ground is too hot is called ‘high stepping’. This is where the dog will pick up their paws and pull them close to their torso. If you see your dog doing this, find cool ground or pick your dog up immediately.
- Hot cars
Never leave an animal in the hot car unattended, even for a minute. Temperatures outside of 85 degrees can soar to 105 degrees inside a vehicle within 10 minutes, even in the shade with partially cracked windows. “Pets left in hot cars for only a few minutes can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage or even worse, they can die.” Says Eric Weigand DVM, past president of California Veterinary Medical Association. If you need to run errands, it’s best to leave your pet at home during hot days.
Foxtails are a type of grass common in yards, on paths, and hillsides. While foxtails are dangerous at all stages, they can cause the most trouble when they’re really dry. Foxtails can embed in the eyes, ears, nose, paws and skin, often requiring surgical removal. Signs of foxtails, depending on the location, can be sneezing, shaking the head, coughing/hacking, squinting eyes or discharge coming from the eyes, pawing at the area and abscess or open wounds. The best way to avoid foxtails is to stay away from areas inundated with them. When hiking, try to keep your dog on the path. Remove any foxtails you see in your yard and after outdoor activities, thoroughly check your pet.
Not all dogs are good swimmers. Before you take your dog swimming, test them in shallow water first. If you suspect your dog cannot swim well, get them a life vest. If you go on a boat, your dog should always wear a life vest, no exceptions. Aside from the life preserver helping them float, the bright color makes it easier to spot and gives you something to grab if he/she jumps or falls in the water. Keep in mind too that dogs are much heavier in water when you’re trying to pull them back into the boat. Don’t let your dog swim too far away from you because dogs don’t understand the concept of resting or treading water and can tire easily. Never force your dog into the water. It could scare them and won’t be fun at all.
While these hazards can be scary, don’t let it stop you from having a blast this summer with your furry friend! Above all else, being a responsible pet owner and looking after your pet’s wellbeing will ensure safety all around. Have fun this summer and don’t hesitate to share all of your adventures with us!