After the long dark cold days of winter, it is finally time to get back outside and enjoy some more enjoyable outside activities around the house! And I can guarantee you that many of your pets are as excited, or even more so, to get back outside. To feel the warm breeze running through their hair, take a drive down some backroads with their best friend, windows down blaring some old Hank, skinny dipping in the pond down the road… That may just actually be a country song, but I guarantee you your dog would love it too.
All jokes aside, the summer also brings added dangers to your pets and there are few things (some maybe not so obvious) to watch out for in the summer months.
1. NEVER Leave Them In the Car!
The most commonly talked about precaution to take with your pet in the heat is to never leave them in the car. Even with the windows cracked, the interior temperature can rise by 20°F in as little as 7 minutes. On a hot day, this can be deadly, very quickly.
2. Schedule Walks at Cooler Parts of the Day
If you don’t have a yard to let your pet run freely in and must take them on a walk to do their business, make sure that it is done for shorter lengths of time and if at all possible, avoid doing so from 1-4 PM where the heat and humidity are at their peaks. This is especially important for dogs such as bulldogs, with short snouts, who cannot pant as efficiently due to their narrowed nostrils and windpipes.
3. Watch for Heat Exhaustion
After extended periods of time in the heat it is possible for dogs to reach levels of heat exhaustion. If your dog shows signs of heat stress—heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs— the best option to treat this is to move them to a cool place, drape a damp towel over their body, rewet the cloth frequently, and get them to the vet as soon as you possibly can. DO NOT douse them or place them in very cold water, because it could cause their body to go into shock. A dog's normal temperature is between 100° and 103°F, so once he hits 104°F, they’re in dangerous territory (106°F or higher can be fatal).
4. Point to The Exit
If your animal will be around a pool, teach them the best way to exit that pool if they were to fall or jump in. Take the time to put them in the pool and direct them toward the stairs 5-10 times or until it seems as if they understand the best way for them to make their exit.
5. Guard Yo Grill
Dogs love to steal charcoal briquettes from the grill or to eat the grease out of the grease pan of your grill. The briquettes can easily get stuck in the stomach, causing vomiting and requiring surgery. The grease is…. Well it’s grease and you can imagine what that could do to your dogs stomach.
6. Sharing is NOT Always Caring
I guess what I’m trying to say is anything to do with your grill, let your dog have no part in it. Scraps and fatty leftovers from your barbecue can give your dog pancreatitis, causing severe abdominal pain or even death. Corn on the cob is also something to avoid handing over to your dog because they can lodge in a dog’s throat or intestines.
7. Plant Food, Not Dog Food
Many of your garden plant foods will contain insecticides and can high enough levels that could be fatal. If your dog tries to eat a bag of it, (or soil that's been treated with it), he could suffer diarrhea, profuse vomiting, shock, seizures, and even death.
If you love your dog as much as I do, it’s always nice to know how to help them live their best and most comfortable life.