Your dog is a part of the family. So it's only natural to do everything in your power to keep him or her safe. While accidents can happen any time of year, summer can be a particularly risky time for your dog. Fortunately, many of these accidents can be prevented if you know what to do. Here are a few potential threats to your canine as well as simple tricks you can implement to avoid a trip to the emergency vet this summer.
Snakes are a potential problem in many parts of the country. A bite from a venomous snake can be fatal, but even a nonpoisonous bite can become infected if not treated. If snakes are in your area, here are three tips for keeping them away from your pet.
Keep your yard clutter-free. Snakes like to hide underneath piles of wood and debris. Therefore, maintaining a clutter-free yard can help keep the snakes away. If that's not possible, make sure any of those perfect hiding spots are far from your home's foundation. Be sure to keep pets away from places where snakes tend to hide, either by keeping them indoors or putting them on a leash.
Mow the grass regularly. Tall grass is an open invitation for snakes to slither by. They also tend to slink away when they see a predator approaching. With short grass, your pet will be safer because it's easier for the snake when your dog is approaching.
Invest in snake repellent. If you enjoy walking your dog regularly, particularly in areas where snakes are prevalent, consider carrying some snake repellant. APHIS (The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) recommends using effective snake repellent. For those who prefer not to harm wildlife, rest assured that when mixed correctly, it won't kill the snake. But it must be sprayed directly on its head in order to cause a forced retreat, keeping your four-legged friend safe from an attack.
Most pet owners know they shouldn't leave their pet in a car on a hot summer day. But since animals don't sweat the way people do, they aren't able to cool down as effectively, either. For this reason, just simply being outside on a hot day can lead to heat stroke, especially if your dog doesn't have access to shade or water. Even high levels of humidity can spell danger. This is because dogs cool down by panting, which releases moisture and heat from their lungs. When the outside air is too humid, panting simply cannot cool them off as well.
On really hot days, keep your dogs inside if possible. If they must be outside for any length of time, ensure they have plenty of shade and water. Frequent trips outside to wet their coats with a hose and place ice in their water bowl is another easy way to keep them cooler for a while. The best kind of shade is that from a tree, tarp, or other flat covering. Doghouses are not a good option in the summer because they tend to trap heat inside, similar to the way a vehicle does.
Avoid exercising your dog outdoors unless it is early in the morning, such as before the heat of the day hits. Even then, it's best to keep the exercise short and sweet. When you return, offer your canine a frozen treat, like peanut butter and banana popsicles that are tasty and effective at cooling down Fido after a short run.
If your pet shows signs of being overheated, bring them inside to cool off immediately, and take their temperature rectally for an accurate reading. Normal ranges from 100-102.5. If your dog's temperature falls between 104-106, your pet is suffering from moderate heat stroke. Recovery from this is generally good with aggressive care. But severe heat stroke can lead to organ failure, which is why it's so important to keep them inside where it's cool on excessively hot days.
Summer is definitely a time for cookouts as well as patriotic celebrations. While you're enjoying the food, campfire, and fireworks, your dog could be heading into trouble. Here are some tips to help your dog avoid injury and illness during the celebration.
Table food. Those hamburgers and hot dogs you've got going on the grill can smell awfully tempting to your canine. But those high fat foods you love can cause an upset stomach in your dog, and even cause pancreatitis is severe cases. Even a serving of grapes or a piece of chocolate cake can be toxic in some cases. Make sure your family and friends know they are not to feed scraps to your furry friend. Keep trash bags closed tightly, off the ground, and out of reach of your pet.
Campfires. If you've got a fire going, you should watch your dog very closely. Some canines will attempt to grab a burning stick for a game of chase. Others will snatch up that marshmallow or hot dog you're roasting over the open fire, putting them at risk for burns. Don't assume your dog naturally understands the dangers of fire, but rather make sure they are leashed and away from the open flames.
Fireworks. Whether you and your canine are on vacation or you live in an area where the sound of fireworks reaches your property, it's important to be prepared. Dogs who have never reacted to loud noises might suddenly experience a full-blown anxiety attack and respond by running away or jumping out of an open window. Make sure your pet is contained in a quiet place and remains leashed when outdoors.
For more tips, consult local vet clinics like 1st Pet Veterinary Centers.