6 Summer Dangers for Pets

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While it can be a blast to let your pets bask in the sunshine, romp on the beach, or take them with you on vacation during the summer, there are a few things as a pet owner you should be aware of in order to keep you pet as safe as possible.  There are some dangers that pets face that come to mind most often, like not leaving them in a hot car, refreshing their water more often, and not tying them to your bike when you run in for a cup of coffee, but what about the less common dangers you may not be aware of?

Windows
Leaving windows open during the warmer months can be dangerous to your pets because curiosity will most likely get the better of them, causing them to jump or even fall.  Some veterinarians see two or three pets a week that have fallen or jumped from windows, roofs, balconies or fire escapes, all because of being able to escape in the first place.  The best safeguards against this is to use screens in your windows, open windows from the top instead of the bottom, or consider child-safety window guards.

Lawns
Many lawn products are toxic to dogs, cats, and rabbits, including pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides.  In 2010, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received more than 4,000 calls related to lawn toxins.  These include herbicides, plants (hydrangea, tulips, azaleas, lilies), insecticides, mushrooms, fertilizers and cocoa mulch.

Grooming
Believe it or not, a dogs coat actually acts as its own protection against the summer heat.  When grooming your dog in the summer, don’t cut his hair very short, as you will actually be taking away this layer of protection.

Vacations
It can be especially dangerous to take certain pets on an airplane trip, like pugs and bulldogs, due to their flatter faces.  The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that shorter-faced dogs die during air transport at much higher rates than other breeds.

If you are taking your pets on a long car ride, be sure to prepare them by going for shorter car rides leading up to the trip to help prevent car sickness.

If you are taking your pets to the beach for vacation, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to keep them safe – Provide fresh water so they do not drink salt water, have a life-vest for your pets if taking them on a boat, and make sure to keep your pets away from the gasoline used in the boats and other water sport machines.

Heat
It may not be common knowledge, but dogs and cats can get sunburned just like their owners, especially in places like their tender noses or their bellies where their fur is shortest.  Be sure to keep your pets in shaded areas for longer periods of time than in the sun.

It is extremely important not to leave your pet in a parked vehicle for any amount of time, due to the possibility of heat stroke.  Animals with flat faces, like pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively.

Symptoms of overheating include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, seizures, and elevated body temperatures over 104 degrees Farenheit.  If you suspect overheating, sponge the animal with lukewarm water and seek veterinary care.

Food
Barbeques are very common during the warmer months, but can be especially dangerous to your pets.  Keeps them on a leash and keep a close eye to prevent them from eating food that falls to the ground or even from other people feeding them scraps, as there are a variety of foods that can be toxic to dogs.

If your dog will be staying at a hotel with you, be sure to bring his regular food from home, as a change in diet can cause diarrhea.  Also keep in mind that no food will keep your dog cooler, but food helps keep body temperature up, so dogs may not need to eat as much in the summer.

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