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Summertime and the living’s easy…unless you’re a pup! While hot weather can mean refreshing swims and beach walks for Fido, the season can also bring dangerous temperatures that can cause serious health issues such as overheating and sunburns. We’ve outlined some common summer hazards to be aware of during these hot months to keep your pooch safe and risk-free.
While some dogs are natural-born swimmers, others are not. To avoid the risk of injury or drowning, keep your water-averse dog away from pools and lakes where he could fall in, as well as the ocean (a high tide or rough waters can easily sweep a small dog under the current). If you’re bringing your dog on a boat, make sure you have a life preserver ready for him, just as you would with a small child.
While nothing says 4th of July quite like fireworks, your dog may feel otherwise. Dogs are often sensitive to loud noises and could run off in fear or act out in aggression upon hearing the pops, cracks and booms that come with the popular Independence Day tradition.
Just as humans can suffer heatstroke, dogs can be just as, if not more vulnerable to overheating and dehydration. To avoid overheating, limit walks and outdoor play to cooler times of the day (sunrise or sunset), provide adequate shade or a cool place to rest indoors, offer plenty of fresh water and never ever leave your dog alone in a hot car. Lastly, be aware of your dog’s temperament – while panting and drooling alone can be normal behaviors, if these symptoms are paired with pale gums, hyperventilation, rapid pulse, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding, contact your vet immediately.
Fleas, Ticks and Bees
The warm summer months unfortunately bring out annoying insects such as fleas and ticks, which love to attach on and bite your four-legged friend. Make sure to protect your pup (and your family and home) by applying medicated flea/tick ointment to Fido on a regular basis. If your pup does come down with either of these critters, it’s imperative to do a deep clean and take necessary measures to prevent the transmission of disease and other parasites. If your dog gets stung by a bee, you’ll want to remove the stinger immediately (if you can find it) and then make an emergency trip to the vet for monitoring and/or treatment of an allergic reaction.
Warm weather can also bring new pollen grains and other allergens into your dog’s environment. Seasonal allergies often cause intense itchiness in dogs, which can lead to hot spots, infections, wounds and hair loss from scratching too much. Talk to your vet about the best treatment options for your dog – depending on breed and severity of the symptoms, management could include oral steroid medication, specialty shampoos or ointments, or even immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Certain products used more frequently during the summer months such as insect repellent, fertilizer, weed control, pool chemicals, or ant bait can contain dangerous chemicals that can pose a poison threat to your dog. Check the ingredients in all products before use, or ask your gardener or pool servicer for more information. If your dog accidentally ingests poison, call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline, available 24 hours, 7 days a week: (888) 426-4435.