With summer in full swing, there are a variety of dangers that your dog is susceptible to when enjoying the great outdoors with you. From heat to sand, there are a few lesser-known dangers for pet owners to be aware of and watch out for during the summer months.
Even with their thick fur coats, dogs can still experience sunburn and can also develop skin cancer. Dogs that are short-haired or have lighter colored coasts are at a greater risk of sunburn.
You can protect your dog’s skin in the same way you protect your own skin with sunscreen. It is important to get a sunscreen that is specifically made for dogs. Since your pet tends to lick their skin, human sunblock can be toxic to them, making pet-safe sunscreen your best option. Application is also the same as it is for humans, and the sunblock should be reapplied every two hours for ultimate protection.
This is obvious and one of the most dangerous factors that can affect your pet. While you may know not to leave your dog in a hot vehicle for any amount of time and you know to keep your dog hydrated and, in the shade, when outside, what about protecting them from hot pavement or asphalt?
Hot pavement can burn your dog’s paws and can also cause them to overheat faster, so be sure to test the ground prior to walking them. Simply place your palm on the sidewalk or the street for at least 30 seconds. If the ground is too hot for your palm, then it will be too hot for your pet to walk on. You can also test sand, metal, or any surface that retains heat using this same technique.
When the pavement is too hot, you can walk your pet in the grass. If a grassy area is not available, try to take your pet for a walk in the early morning or later in the evening when the ground is cooler. If neither of these options works for you and your pet, you can purchase booties for your pet that can protect their paws from the heat.
With heat also comes humidity. When the humidity is high, your pet’s panting will be less effective, making it more difficult for them to cool off. Heatstroke is another danger to watch out for. Dogs who have pushed-in faces are more susceptible to heatstroke due to their issues with breathing. Older, overweight, very young, or ill dogs are also at a higher risk.
Heatstroke signs to look out for include:
- Labored breathing
- Heavy panting
- Excessive drooling
If you notice your pet experiencing the symptoms, make sure to take them immediately to a cool place and call your vet if the symptoms do not improve.
Cooking over the campfire or on the grill in the backyard are classic summer activities but can also pose a threat to the safety of your pet. When using your grill for cooking up a delicious meal, keep in mind that grease and food can stick to the grill plate, creating an irresistible aroma for your pet. After you’re done cooking, be sure to restrain your dog, close the grill, or take other precautionary measures to ensure your pet does not try to lick the grill, burning their mouth or lips.
Campfires, full of sticks, may also be tempting to your pet. While they may not approach the fire while it is blazing, as the fire dies down, your dog may get closer and decide to run off with one of the campfire sticks. This can result in you chasing the dog and injuring yourself by grabbing the smoldering stick, or your pet getting burned. There is also a risk that your pet could drop the stick and start a wildfire.
Well-Known Summer Dangers to Watch Out For
As a reminder, it is also important to protect your pet from the more well-known dangers, including:
- Fire Ants
To ensure you and your furry friend have a great summer together, be aware of and be prepared for the potential summer dangers out there. Contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro to schedule your next appointment.