Playing it Safe
Spring and Summer is such a great time to have a dog! Who doesn’t love running around outside with your best friend, throwing the ball or a Frisbee; fishing with a wonderful companion; or enjoying a hike through the woods, as your dog explores the underbrush around you? Just remember, that as great as summer is, there can be hidden dangers to your pet, as well. Dogs have a harder time dealing with heat than we humans.
Remember, they wear fur coats 24/7! And dogs can only cool themselves off by panting and some sweating of the pads. The best time to exercise with your dog is early morning, or in the evening, when the heat and humidity are lowest. This is especially important for the brachycephalic (smushy-faced) breeds like pugs or bulldogs, because their short noses can sometimes mean it is harder to pant. If you do need to be out in the hottest part of the day, make sure your pet has plenty of water and access to shade. We need to also remember that pavement can get extremely hot, and dogs don’t wear shoes. The pavement that is “hot enough to fry an egg” can burn the pads of your dog’s foot quickly. And, as always, do not leave your dog in the car during the summer. In fact, on a sunny 70 degree day, your car can heat up to over 100 degrees within minutes!
While swimming or boating with your pet, make sure they can swim or are wearing a life jacket. Most dogs love the water and are natural swimmers but not all of them! Clean your dog’s ears regularly after swimming, to avoid infections. Even our backyards can be dangerous at times. Many lawns are treated with fertilizers and pesticides during the summer, and dogs will walk on there and then lick their feet, ingesting these possibly toxic chemicals. Pool-owners, keep pool covers firmly in place,and make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladders are located. Our grills can also be a source of concern. Does your dog long to lick the drip pan? Barbecue scraps and fatty leftovers can give your pup pancreatitis, causing severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Corn cobs and peach pits are also a huge no-no because they can lodge in a dog’s intestines. Lastly, every night after spending all these wonderful days together, be sure to inspect your pet for ticks. The deer tick can be very small—so look closely! Talk to your veterinarian to decide what the best tick-prevention product is for you, and for your best friend!
Dr. Erin Weiss is a mobile small animal veterinarian, who owns and operates Voyaging Vet and Tech Services with her partner, Patrice Anderson, CVT. Voyaging Vet & Tech Services is a housecall only veterinary practice, specializing in wellness exams, vaccines, medical services, hospice care and home euthanasia. Dr. Erin lives on a hobby farm in Plum City, with her husband, 2 sons, her dog, and chickens.