When summer rolls around each year, this means we can enjoy sunshine with more outdoor activities, whether hiking, camping or relaxing on the beach. Our pets, too, get to enjoy the sunny days and longer daylight hours with more walks, trips to the park, and other adventures.
However for pet owners, summertime also represents new risks and dangers to be aware of. Here are the common summer dangers that every pet owner should be aware of.
One of the biggest risks facing pets during summer is water. Over the summer, we tend to spend a great deal of time near water, weather this is rivers, lakes, swimming pools or the ocean. Even though most dogs love to swim, water can be very dangerous, and the risk of drowning is very real.
Keep your pet safe around water by keeping them well supervised around water. For dogs that like to swim, a flotation device is recommended, and never force your pet to go into the water if they don’t want to. Also be aware that chlorine, salt and the bacteria in swimming pools can be harmful to your pet, so make sure to always rinse them off after they go for a dip.
2. Heat Stroke
As the weather heats up, heat stroke becomes a very real danger for pets. Dehydration plays a big role in heat stroke, so make sure that you leave plenty of clean, fresh water for your pet. On hot days it is a good idea to leave multiple containers of water for your pet, and make sure that these are in the shade so they stay as cool as possible.
Also make sure that you bring water with you on walks, trips and long car rides: it is a good idea to carry fresh water and a portable water bowl. Also watch out for symptoms of heat stroke which include excessive lethargy, dry gums, refusing to eat, less urination and sunken eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet straight away.
3. Family BBQs
One of the great family traditions of summer is the barbeque. Although this is a great way to spend time with loved ones while enjoying the warm weather, this can also be a risky environment for pets. In particular, it is all too common for dogs to be fed scraps and treats as we relax at the barbeque. These scraps are often high in fat and very unhealthy for our pets.
Other human foods can actually be toxic for dogs, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins. Many people may not know this and will inadvertently give their pet foods that are harmful. Furthermore, foods with pits, such as peaches and avocados, can be choking hazards, while toothpicks and skewers can splinter and pierce your pet’s intestines. If you accidentally give your pet some food with a toothpick or splinter in it, or they munch on one that is lying around, this can be a serious problem.
Ticks are another common hazard for pets in summer, as you pet is likely to be spending much more time outside. Ticks are a big hazard for dogs because they can carry serious diseases, including Lyme disease. Not only can these disease by very serious and even fatal, but the symptoms are often difficult to spot.
It is important to check your dog for ticks every day, and to be particularly thorough after your dog has visited a wooded or wilderness area. If you find a tick, remove it properly with tweezers and then save the tick in an airtight container. You should call you vet and ask them if you should bring the tick in for testing.
5. Car Trips
Summertime is usually the time for car trips, whether outings or a driving holiday. Even your regular day-to-day car trips become more risky as the mercury soars. You may be accustomed to leaving your pet in the car while you run into the shops, and can usually do this in winter without incident.
However, in the warmer months, cars can grow extremely hot and this is very dangerous for your pet. Dogs and cats can get heatstroke very quickly if left in the car even for a few minutes on a hot, sunny day. Therefore, either leave your pet at home or keep them with you at all times.
6. Skin Problems
Skin issues in dogs often flare up in the warmer weather. This is often because your pet is carrying excess fur that can become matted, and lead to your pet overheating. It is therefore important to regularly groom your pet, even more so during the summer months.
Allergies, which can also cause skin issues, are also more common in summer as pets spend more time outside and are exposed to more allergens. Grain-free dog food such as Visionary Pet can also help to manage allergies and skin problems.
7. Bee stings
The final common summer danger we will cover here is bee stings. As your pet spends more time outdoors during the warm weather, so do plenty of insects – including bees. Bee stings in dogs are relatively common during summer, and often may not be anything to worry about. However, in some cases bee sting require professional attention: if you notice excessive swelling be sure to contact your vet.