Ask the Vet: Summer Safety Tips

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The warm summer months invite us to get outside to run, walk, or play with our beloved and eager dogs. The following tips will help ensure it’s a fun, safe summer for your pets.

Hot Weather

  • Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water and access to shade when outside.
  • NEVER LEAVE A DOG IN THE CAR, even in the shade or with windows cracked. Cars can overheat quickly to deadly temperatures, even when the weather isn’t severe.
  • If it is hot for you, it is even hotter for your dog. Know the signs of heat stress and call your veterinarian if you observe any of these signs:
    • Anxiousness
    • Excessive panting
    • Restlessness
    • Excessive drooling
    • Unsteadiness
    • Abnormal gum and tongue color
    • Collapse
  • Take walks and hikes during the cooler hours of the day avoiding any activity during the hottest parts of the day and take frequent breaks. Be sure to have enough water for you and your dog.
  • Avoid hot surfaces, such as asphalt and cement that can burn the dog’s paws. Allow them to walk on the grass as much as possible.

Fleas, Ticks, and Other Bugs

  • Use flea/tick prevention and heartworm prevention every month, but especially during the warmer months when parasites are much more active.
  • Mosquitos carry heartworm disease; fleas transmit tapeworms and are difficult to eliminate from your living space and ticks carry a host of diseases.
  • May flies, black flies, no-se-ums! Do not be alarmed if this is what your dog’s underside looks like after a day in the grass. They usually will go away on their own, but if the dog is bothered by them, contact your veterinarian.
  • Spider bites and bee stings can cause swelling of the face or bumps all over the body (hives). Please connect with your veterinarian if these occur and if any problems breathing, this is a medical emergency.

Landscaping Issues

  • Be mindful of grassy areas/yards that have been recently fertilized or pesticides applied. Stay away for 12-24 hours.
  • Watch out for wood mulch, coconut husk mulch, cocoa bean mulch (toxic) or decorative stones as some dogs really like to eat these which can cause GI upset or obstructions.

Pollen

  • Pollen is flying! This can cause mild itching/sneezing or sometimes will cause some eye drainage, mostly in the morning. This drainage can look grey/whitish or sometimes it can even look yellow due to the amount of pollen in the air. Cleaning with a damp cloth or in some cases, using an eye wash will usually do the trick. If the eye drainage continues throughout the day, please contact your veterinarian for advice.