When it comes to summer, taking your dog out to join in the festivities is about as good as it gets. Summer fun also brings with it some dangers particular to dogs. Knowing what to watch out for this year will help in keeping your pooch happy and in good health. Most owners know about dehydration and heat stroke, but what about the surprising and forgotten risks? Take a look at these common threats that you may have been overlooking:
Though commonly overlooked, dogs are not impervious to sunburn. It is also more common in some breeds, especially those with short coats, such as pitbulls, weimaraners, and dalmations. Make sure your dog’s undercoat is left untouched and keep hair at an appropriate length. Areas especially perceptible include underbellies and ears.
Check your pup regularly after taking a walk, and be especially thorough on dogs with thick coats. This is notably important when visiting wooded or tall grassy areas prone to ticks. The best way to prevent ticks is by keeping up with their medication administration. If your dog does develop an illness from Lyme disease, the most common signs are lameness, lethargy, and enlarged lymph nodes.
Even if you are not taking part in the action, always take care to make sure your dog is restrained or wearing a flotation device when near bodies of water. Not all dogs like water or can swim, and it is a skill best left to test out at home rather than on accident. Always rinse soon after a swim and provide clean drinking water, as salt and pool water can host bacteria and be harmful when consumed or left to dry on a dog’s coat.
Snakes and Bees
While one is worse than the other, it is best to steer clear of both pests. If a snake is spotted in your yard, leave it be and keep pets indoors until it has left. To avoid snakes, keep yards mowed and free of debris as they often like hiding in shaded areas. If your dog is bitten by a snake contact a vet immediately. If a bee is encountered, a vet is not typically necessary. Allow the swelling to go down and avoid anything that may cause irritation.
When walking the dog in summer heat, it is important to be conscious of the temperature of the ground their paws are in direct contact with. Chances are if you could not walk on it barefoot than neither can your dog. Schedule walks for cooler times of the day or invest in paw wax. Booties are also an option if your dog can handle them.
BBQs and Block Parties
Everyone likes a good summer grill out, and while dogs like it, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be allowed to enjoy it. Some common BBQ and cookout favorites may actually be harmful to your dog or cause a mess for you. Barbeque in particular is a common cause of diarrhea in dogs and corn on the cob is hard to digest. Discarded fruit pits are especially dangerous as they cause choking hazards. Be careful of stray bones and toothpicks as well as they can splinter or poke holes in a dog’s GI tract.