Summer is here! That means BBQs, swimming, beach days, and fun in the sun. It can bring a lot of joy to all family members to involve your furry friends in these activities, but there are some hazards that can affect your pets you may want to be aware of.
The summer heat, in general, can be hazardous to dogs. If the outside temperature is above 77 degrees, you will want to consider whether or not your pet can safely go for a long walk, which can be influenced by many factors. One factor may be that the asphalt is too hot-you can check this by placing the back of your hand on the pavement for 11 seconds if it is too hot, don’t have your dog walk on the pavement for an extended time period.
Another factor is their ability to cool themselves. Because dogs don’t really sweat, they depend on panting and dissipating heat through their ears and paws to cool themselves. Some breeds like bulldogs are limited in their ability to pant, and some dogs that aren’t used to exercising in the heat can overheat very quickly. If you have any doubts about whether or not your pet can safely be outside, keep them in. Avoid any long walks in excessive heat. And if you think they may be overheating, offer them water, get them in the shade, and take them into your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Other summer hazards include all that yummy food you enjoy at a summer bbq! Things like corn cobs, meat with bones, and watermelon rinds pose a large risk for foreign body obstruction to dogs-these things cannot pass through their intestines and they become obstructed, and surgery may be needed to remove them. Other foods can cause gastritis or pancreatitis, especially fatty foods-for these reasons, it is best to avoid people food for dogs. If you want them to enjoy a “treat” with you, try green beans or carrots. Watermelon (just the fruit!) is ok too!
One last summer hazard you may want to consider is the risk of ear infections for dogs that swim. Whether it be at the beach or in the pool, many dogs are predisposed to ear infections if their ears get wet and dirty. It is a good idea to check their ears and use a veterinary-specific ear cleanser as directed by your veterinarian to keep their ears clean and dry after swimming. If you see any dark brown discharge, redness, or irritation, or if your pet is scratching their ears or shaking their head, they may have an ear infection and they’ll need to be examined.
While it can be great fun to involve your furry friends in your summer activities, we want you to do so safely! Following these guidelines can help avoid a few of those summer hazards that exist for pets and keep their summer as fun as can be.