Five Summer Hazards for Your Dog

Each season contains hazards for our pets.  Here are five hazards to guard against this summer.

1) Heat stroke.  Never leave a dog in the car, even for “just a minute.”  Temperatures can soar in minutes in the hot sun.  Even leaving a car window open is not adequate to save the dog.  By the same token, make sure that outside dogs have a shady place to retreat to such as a dog house.  Make sure there is shade all day long somewhere in the yard that the dog can retreat to in order to stave off heat stroke.

2) Dehydration.  Dogs need a lot more water in the summer, and it needs to be lukewarm or cooler.  Leaving the water in a metal bowl in the sun can result in water too hot for the dog to drink without injuring himself.  Make sure there is adequate cool water all day long for the dog.  When traveling in the summer, give the dog water each time you drink something or stop for gasoline.

3) Snakes.  Snakes, both poisonous and non-poisonous, are active in the warmth of summer.  Since snakes regulate their temperature by seeking hot or cool areas to stay, they may be hiding in the same shade your dog has retreated to.  Or, they may be out and about and not appreciative of being nosed by your dog.  If your dog is bitten by a snake, make an attempt to identify the type of snake biting your dog, but do not endanger yourself doing so..  Even bites from non-poisonous snakes should be treated for infection, but a bite from a poisonous snake is an emergency.  Get your dog directly to a veterinarian for treatment. Most veterinarians can tell from the bite if the snake was poisonous and if so, what type of snake it was.  The dog can then be treated with anti-venin and likely saved, if taken to the veterinarian promptly.

4) Hot surfaces. Concrete and asphalt can burn a dog’s paws if he has to walk across them in the heat of summer.  Feel the surface your dog is walking on with your hand.  If it is too hot for you to touch, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.  Consider using booties to protect your dog’s feel from the heat.  Dogs will learn to accept the booties if they know that wearing them signals a walk.

5) Chemicals.  The weather is nice and more people are working outside.  They are flushing their radiators, changing their oil, and spraying their lawns with pesticides or herbicides.  Chemicals are all around your dog in the summer.  Be cautious about letting your dog drink from any puddle, as it may be contaminated with chemicals.  Do not let your dog walk on strange lawns or other areas that may have been treated for pests or weeds.  If your dog does come into contact with a chemical, bathe him immediately to wash it off and consult your veterinarian for further treatment, if necessary.  Radiator fluid, or antifreeze, can be fatal in as little as a teaspoon for a dog, so if your dog licks some of it, take him to the veterinarian immediately.

Summer can be a fun time for people and their pets.  Guard against these hazards and it will stay that way.