Many enjoyable summer activities can be dangerous for our furry friends, largely because of the intense heat.
To keep our pets safe, here are some things to watch out for.
●Heatstroke or heat stress. Leaving your pet outside or in the car for too long can lead to heatstroke or heat stress. Tara Lynn, communications manager at the SPCA of Wake County, North Carolina, said the temperature inside a car can get to the point of extreme danger in less than 15 minutes.
Veterinarian Page Wages said dogs will pant and not be able to stop, which they usually would after eight or so minutes. “Cats will breathe with their mouth open, which is not good. They just basically can’t cool off. They’ll be unsettled or they’ll pace a lot. Bulldogs and dogs with flat faces, smaller dogs or the ones that are really, really, really active, like a young Lab, are more prone to” heat-related illnesses, she said.
Lynn recommends making sure your pets always have access to plenty of cool, fresh water.
● Hot pavement or hot sand. Hot pavement or hot sand can burn the pads of your pets’ feet, which is very painful. “A good general rule is if you put the back of your hand down on the sidewalk or the street and leave it there for about five seconds, if it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely going to be too hot for them,” Lynn said.
●Sunburn. “Some pets, particularly dogs that have particularly thin hair or some dogs who don’t have much hair at all on their bellies, they can potentially get sunburned. So talking to your vet about some safe options for sunscreen is important,” Lynn said. Wages said Neutrogena kids’ sunscreen is safe to use on dogs.
●Burns from grills. “I think one of the main [dangers] is a hot grill, and dogs smelling whatever’s cooking on the grill and getting really close to the grill,” Lynn said. “Depending on what kind of grill, if they get under it, they run the risk of being burned or hot grease dropping on them and burning them,” Lynn said.
●Certain foods and plants. Raisins, grapes, garlic, onions and chocolate are toxic to dogs, and lilies are toxic to cats. Lynn pointed out that raw meat can upset the stomachs of pets that aren’t accustomed to such a diet. So keep a close eye on what they eat.
●Ear infections. Ear infections are more common in summer, when dogs are swimming more. Cleaning their ears routinely will help prevent them from getting an infection, Wages said.
●Drowning. While most dogs know how to swim, it might be a good idea to put a life jacket on your dog, Wages said, especially if it’s older or has an injury.
“Labs and breeds that are always in the water are fine, unless they’re going to be swimming for a while, in which case I’d put a life jacket on them. If you’re out on a boat in the ocean, I would put a life jacket on them, because if something happens to the boat and the boat goes over, the dog’s going to get tired of swimming,” she said.
— The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)