Summer Pet Hazards
Summer is nearly upon us and with it comes the sun, the heat and the fun! But along with it comes a special set of hazards for our furry friends. I put together a short list of things to think about when you are out and about this time of year.
If your pet is outside, they can be exposed to high temperatures this time of year, adequate shade and a clean water source is absolutely necessary for animals living outside, otherwise they may suffer heat stroke if exposed to higher temperatures for a period of time. Dogs that have short noses, like bulldogs, pugs and shih tzus are at greater risk of becoming overheated due to the fact that the respiratory tract is responsible for most of the heat regulation in a dog and theirs are compromised due to their conformation, so a brachycephalic dog can overheat rather quickly and should be monitored very closely. Never leave your pet in the car when it is warm outside, temperatures inside the car rise rather quickly and can have deadly consequences after a short period of time. Lastly, with heat comes warm surfaces, be mindful that your pet is not wearing a snazzy pair of flip flops like you, their toe pads can burn very easily during just a short walk on a hot sidewalk.
It’s the time of year when we all want to cool off, and what better way to do it than go for a swim? Whether it be a pool, the lake, or a local swimming pool, pets should be monitored very closely around water. Not every dog or cat is a great swimmer so flotation devices are a good idea for any dog that may go for a swim and all of those on a boat because water safety is important four legs or two. Many animals may be apt to drink from the pool or lake even while they are swimming, but pool chemicals and even natural bacteria and algae (like that the city of Salem is currently dealing with) can be toxic and cause severe disease, so stop them from ingesting the swim water and be sure to bring clean drinking water for everyone.
I know I can’t go in my back yard in the later afternoon and evening without becoming a blood donor for all the mosquitoes in Marion County, and your pet is at just as great a risk. Mosquitoes can spread disease and are the carrier of heart worm, so be mindful of preventatives and protecting your yard from mosquitoes. Ticks are out and about this time of year and as the weather gets nicer we are apt to go out and about and increase the likelihood of contact with ticks. Again, prevention is the key to keeping your pet free from contact with ticks and stopping the spread of tick-borne disease. I know my backyard is filled with the buzz of bees, which delights me because they are pollinating my plants and making some yummy honey. Unfortunately I am also allergic to bee stings and have to be mindful where I step this time of year because I can’t risk yet another allergic reaction. Your furry friend may also be susceptible to bee sting reactions and allergies, we’ve all seen the adorable photos of puppies with puffy faces, but stings can be quite dangerous and some animals are drawn to chasing and trying to catch bees as sport. If you see your pet chasing bees, distract and if a sting occurs, monitor them very closely and report any sign of reaction to the vet right away.
I know what you are thinking, pets don’t do yard work, how is that dangerous?! To keep our yards beautiful this time of year, some people will use pesticides, herbicides and other chemical treatments to feed our plants and kill pests, but these chemicals often contain toxins that are also deadly to our pets. Make sure all lawn chemicals are stored out of the reach of children and pets to prevent these potentially deadly exposures.
Okay, now you are thinking that I am going off the deep end, how can a party be dangerous? But for pets; strangers, loud noises, food and drink can be life threatening. Anxiety caused by large groups of people and loud noises cause pets to become destructive and even run away, even something as simple as a guest opening the wrong door and letting a pet escape can have devastating results. Tables filled with food and beverage can quickly become a case of vomiting and diarrhea and possibly more if a pet were to indulge themselves. It is often best to keep pets corralled during parties or keep an extra close eye because things can happen very quickly in a chaotic setting.
Well it seems I managed to suck all the fun out of summertime, and that was not my intention at all. Go swimming, hiking, camping (my favorite summer activity), boating and to the beach!! Just be mindful of the dangers posed to your furry ones and be safe!! It instantly becomes a whole lot of no fun as soon as someone gets hurt or sick; unfortunately I’ve been there and done that. Happy summer!! Congratulations all graduates of the classes of 2018!!