Symptoms of a heatstroke in dogs can range from very dramatic and obvious (for example, a sudden collapse during exercise or prolonged weakness and heavy panting) to more subtle signs (unusual lethargic behavior, or even diarrhea or vomiting). If you believe your dog has had a heatstroke, seek immediate treatment. In the meantime, you can cool the animal down with cool or room-temperature water. Do NOT use cold water, ice, or ice packs, as it can actually cause the animal’s blood vessels to constrict and make it harder for them to naturally lower their body temperature. To learn more about how to identify and treat a heatstroke, read our full blog post, here!
Don’t assume all dogs (or cats) are great swimmers! Strong ocean currents and waves can overwhelm your pet, and you may be put into the dangerous position of having to rescue them yourself. Keep an eye on saltwater consumption as well, since even playful romping in shallow water can increase salt consumption and lead to illness. If you have a backyard pool, be sure to teach your pet how to get in and out safely. Properly fitted life vests are also a must whenever boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding with your pet.
Summer rain showers create puddles that can harbor bacteria, runoff toxins, and parasites that are harmful to pets. Stagnant bodies of water, including ponds, are another potential source of bacteria such as Leptospira, which can cause severe sickness in people and animals—and sometimes even death.
Dogs don’t sweat like people do, so it can be difficult for them to stay cool on hot summer days. Never leave your dog alone in a hot, enclosed space like a car for any amount of time since their internal temperature can rise very quickly. It’s best to leave them at home while you run errands—even if they give you those “puppy dog eyes” walking out the door!
Bee stings can be difficult to plan for, but try to be aware of any nest colonies on your property. Facial swelling from stings can cause breathing problems for your pet, and should always be treated as an emergency. If your pet is experiencing an unusual reaction to a sting, notify your primary care vet as soon as possible.
If you are used to running, hiking, or taking long, strenuous walks with your dog, consider doing so early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler. You may also want to shorten your route on very hot days. This is particularly important for short-snouted breeds such as bulldogs, boxers, and pugs, which have an increased risk of developing respiratory problems.
From picnics to barbeques, summer presents plenty of opportunities for your dog or cat to eat things that aren’t good for them! Keep an eye on gnawed-off corn cobs, peach pits, used barbeque skewers, and any other discarded items that may be tempting! It’s also a good idea to cut up large, empty chip bags to reduce the risk of potential suffocation.
Wounds & Injuries
People and animals tend to spend more time outside during the summer. This means that outdoor cats have a greater chance of getting into scuffs with other animals, while dogs are more likely to experience penetrating injuries from sticks or broken fence wires during outdoor play. Fight-injuries and hit-by-car incidents increase during the summer months as well. Be sure to keep your dog on a six-foot, non-retractable leash—perfect for social distancing measures!
It’s a good idea to ensure your pet always has access to fresh water to encourage proactive hydration. Even dogs who spend most of the day inside should have constant access to water. Place water bowls throughout the house to make it easy for them to take a drink!
Fleas, Ticks & Heartworm
Don’t forget monthly preventatives to keep your pet happy and healthy all summer long. Tick bites can lead to illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Bartonellosis—that’s a long list and none of them are good for your pet!