What trouble is your dog getting into during the summer heat? Summer, just like any other season, has its own unique set of dangers that come along with having fun in the sun. Here are the top 10 summer dog dangers . While at home, at the park, or at the beach be prepared for possible trouble can make all the difference.
We try really hard to keep our dogs as safe as possible during the summer. It’s really no different than having children. You just always have to be prepared for something to go wrong and always try to watch them. As soon as you turn your back, BANG, they’re into something or another. I can’t begin to tell you all the stupid things that have happened to our dogs over the years. My mother shaved my grandfather’s black lab and he ended up with a bad sunburn, our Shih Tzu was covered in acrylic paints when a toddler had a few minutes alone with her. As parents our job is literally mitigating risk while trying to preserve fun. Here is a list of 10 of the most common dangers that dogs encounter on the daily.
Heatstroke, The #1 Summer Dog Danger
Heatstroke is the #1 danger summer poses to your dog. Brachycephalic, dogs with pushed in faces like pugs, are at a higher risk of developing heat stroke. When your dog’s body can no longer maintain a normal body temperature because of exposure to high external temperatures and humidity really bad things happen. If your dog is suffering from heatstroke, he can experience a multitude of symptoms ranging from excessive drooling and panting to seizures and death. To reduce the risk of heatstroke do not take Fido on long car rides in the heat of the day or leave him in unventilated areas like a car or room. We’ve all been warned about leaving a dog in a car, but a closed room with no air flow to cool is just as deadly.
Who doesn’t want to jump into the water when it’s hot out?! Our family all loves to swim, including our dogs! But beneath the surface of serene water hides many potential dangers. Drowning is as much of a danger to your dog as it is to anyone. Drowning aside there are many other dangers such as blue-green algae which can kill your dog, infectious bacteria, and strong currents. If your taking your dog for a swim in anything other than a pool always have them wear a lifejacket and wash your dog off right after.
Many people are under the impression that dogs are born with the innate ability to swim, but nothing is further from the truth. Don’t assume your dog’s going to be the next Michael Phelps. Some dogs are excellent swimmers while others shouldn’t even look at the water. Breeds such as the bulldogs, boxers, and the always adorable basset hound sink while golden retrievers, Newfoundlands, and poodles are excellent swimmers.
Even after you dog is finished swimming water can still make life difficult. Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, and ear infections can be a HUGE pain in the butt! Always make sure you dry your dog’s coat and ears thoroughly.
The morning walk you share with Fido can have some serious consequences. Some people take a lot of pride in the look of their lawn and spray chemical fertilizers or pesticides all over it. Those chemicals can cause serious problems with your dogs health and its not hard for them to make it into his system. They can be absorbed through the skin, licked off their coat, or inhaled and can be deadly.
Is it that surprising that dogs can get sunburns too? Just like people any skin exposed to sun can get sunburnt and those with shorter coats are more susceptible. Not only do sunburns hurt they can lead to the development of skin cancers later on. There are actually dog sunscreens on the market to protect your dog but restricting the amount of time they spend sunbathing works too.
Walking your dog through your neighborhood is great exercise for both you and your pooch but during the summer the sun makes surfaces HOT! Especially sand and asphalt! Paw burns can leave your furbaby unable to walk and open to infections. Staying off heat absorbing surfaces during the heat of the day is the best way to prevent burns, but there are booties available also.
Screens, the Overlooked Summer Dog Danger
Air conditioning is expensive and a lot of us aren’t made of money so summer is prime time to bust open the windows and let in fresh air. Window or sliding door, the screens themselves don’t pose a direct threat, it’s more of them being weak. They create and opening in your dog containment and opening that Fido can practically walk through at the first squirrel he sees. If that screen doesn’t let out into a safe fenced in area that could pose quite a problem. There are screen grills that secure these potential hazards. If your screen happens to open into a beautifully fenced in yard there are screen doggie doors to prevent them from running through and breaking the door.
Blood Sucking Parasites
Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and sucking lice are gross and just the thought of them feasting on me gives me the heebie-jeebies let alone my poor furkids! Summer allows these creepy crawlies to be more active and attack at will. The diseases they carry can be devastating and severe infestations can leave your dog anemic. Keeping your dog on preventatives is important for his health and yours. Talk to your vet to figure out which preventative would fit your need.
I love cookouts! It’s all about the food for me and for your dog too! Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods at cookouts that can pose a threat to our four-legged kids. With everyone socializing and spilling its easy for Fido to snag some not-so-good grub, which is why cookouts are one of our summer dog dangers. Some foods are poisonous like grapes and onions others like corn cobs can cause your dog to choke. Everyone wants to enjoy a gathering with family and friends so keep an eye on Fido so that the fun isn’t cut short.
Stings Can be a Serious Summer Dog Danger
All insects are more active in the warmer weather including those who sting. Bees, wasps, ants, oh my! Dogs can be just as allergic to those stings as we can making them one of the more serious summer dog dangers. If your dog, to your knowledge, never been stung before keep a close eye on them if symptoms develop call your vet immediately.
I know this might be hard to admit but a naïve owner can be one of the biggest dangers a dog faces in the summer. We all make mistakes and we will continue to do so until the day we die. If you have any questions be sure to ask them because simple things could cause huge problems. For instance, shaving a double-coated breed increases the risk of heatstroke and sunburns. The best thing you can do for your dog is to learn and ask your questions.
Summer should be filled with memory making fun for both you and your dog. Avoiding summer dog dangers isn’t hard. Small preparations and staying aware will help keep those memories as warm and bright as the sun. Have a happy and safe Summer!