Midwest weather changes from cold to hot in a second, and we seem to be caught off guard when it comes to our pets. The heat, bugs, and thunderstorms are just a few of the issues we need to consider to keep our dogs safe during the summer months.
Dogs in Cars – Leave your dog at home, not in the car! On a 70-degree day, the sun will heat the interior of a car to a killer temperature. It may be fun for a dog to hang his head out of the window, but flying debris is a danger, and dogs should not ride in the back of a pick up.
Outdoor events – It is great to take your pet to the fair, but leave him at home when it is extremely hot. When you take your dog, offer water frequently, and rest in the shade. Avoid hot surfaces like concrete, asphalt, or sand.
Poisons & Chemicals – A dog or puppy can become seriously ill or die from ingesting fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, or rodenticides. Read and follow directions carefully before using anything. Keep all poisons in a child and dog proof location.
Mulch – Fresh cocoa bean much can be toxic if a large quantity is ingested.
Antifreeze – Check for leaks, as a small amount is very toxic. Its sweet taste attracts animals. Switch to a product that contains propylene glycol, not ethylene glycol.
Sunburn – Light dogs and dogs with short hair are at the highest risk of sunburn, but other dogs also can burn on their nose, ears, and belly too. Sunburn caused sores, infections, hair loss, and skin cancer. People sun precautions should also apply to dogs. Use a sunscreen that is non-toxic to dogs.
Ear infections – Lift your dog’s ear and take a whiff, if there is a nasty smell, call your vet.
Hot Spots – Also known as summer sores or moist eczema; they can erupt very quickly.
Noise phobias –Unless you know your puppy is fine with loud, sudden noises, don’t take him to the fireworks. If you have neighbors that randomly set off firecrackers, take out your Kong toy and fill it with peanut butter to distract him from the noise. Eventually, loud noises will mean a nice treat.
Dogs at large – Do not approach. Teach children to back away slowly and quietly and find an adult. Call animal control or the police.
Kids at large –Untrained kids tease dogs through fences. A dog tied up can’t escape from a pack of kids throwing things at him. Protect your dog, and do not leave him unattended.
Exercise – avoid strenuous exercise during extreme heat
Heatstroke – watch for intense rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering, and lethargy. A lack of water, hot enclosed spaces, high humidity, obesity, age, and a heavy coat will increase the risk for heat stoke. A dog’s normal rectal temperature is 101 to 102.5. Immediately, call your vet if it is over 102.5!
Pests – (fleas, tick, flies, bees) Use a Veterinarian approved prevention program.
Water safety – Dogs can drown. Supervise dogs around pools and have a life jacket when boating. Young dogs cannot monitor their stamina and may not make it back to shore.
Traveling – If you want to take your dog on vacation…plan ahead. www.petfriendlytravel.com
Please contact your Veterinarian with any health concerns regarding your pet. For a detailed list of poisons and toxic plants, call Animal Poison Hotline
(888-232-8870) or visit www.peteducation.com or www.aspca.com.
During the summer, frequently check your dog’s fur, paws, skin, and ears for ulcers or infection. Take notice of his eating and bathroom habits. A sick dog can’t tell you what is wrong. A sick dog will show you when he is sick, but you have to be watching for these signals. Have a safe summer.
Copyright 2006 by Susan Jakobs. This article or any part of this article may not be reproduced in any form or circulated without author’s permission. We post articles to educate the public and would allow the use of printed materials for that purpose. If you want to use any publications, you must contact us first. Materials cannot be edited or changed and must be used in whole, including our logo.