Top 5 Summer Pet Threats

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely ready for a little summer! This winter just wore on and on to the point that, I (a dyed-in-the-wool winter-lover to the core) was so sick of slushy coldness that I couldn’t take one more snowflake!

But unfortunately, with summer and the nicer weather come a few things that you will want to avoid. These are my top 5 summertime threats to your pet. These are all things that I’ve seen and treated in my 17 years as an emergency vet. Read them, live by them and your pets won’t be singing Summertime Sadness anytime soon.

5. Fireworks: Lovely to look at, scary for pets! Make sure pets are inside and securely contained on the Fourth of July.  Turn up a stereo to drown out the noise and consider staying home yourself. Sedatives from your veterinarian may help take the edge off, but don’t count on them to make all the scary go away. Keep your pets in the quietest room of your home. Some pets stay calm when they are in a pet crate or in a darkened, quiet room. A toy like the ZOINK! Rubber Treat Puzzler that they have to work at for hours (and can be filled with treats as a reward) is a great way to keep their mind off the noise!

4. Outdoor activity: They say good fences make good neighbors, but good fences do more than that. A good pet fence can keep your pet safe from roaming. Trauma from cars, dog fights and exposures to poisons are just a few of the hazards that are out there. If you take your dog along to the river, lake or camping, make sure you bring along a leash and they have ID like a tag or a microchip.

3. Travel: Dogs love to get sick when they are boarded or watched over by a pet sitter — trust me, I’ve seen it again and again. Make sure the kennel or pet sitter can contact you, has your credit card information and knows what you want. Copies of medical records, prescriptions and a signed authorization letter should always be accessible to the pet sitter or kennel.

2. Food: One of the biggest summer ‘threats to your pet’ is the same as the threat to your waistline: FOOD! Summer is all about food — cookouts, parties, S’mores, camping…

Vomiting and diarrhea are common after eating too much “people food” and can also cause a more serious condition called pancreatitis. Keep pets confined during any summer parties or outings and make sure guests know not to give treats to your pets. If vomiting or mild diarrhea happens, stop feeding, take up the food and water and try a little cottage cheese and white rice in a few hours. If the vomiting keeps up, your pet feels sick or you see blood in the diarrhea — time for a trip to the doctor!

1. Heatstroke: Far and away, heatstroke is summer enemy #1. Make sure that your dog has shade and fresh water when the mercury climbs, and never never EVER leave your dog in a car on a warm day. Your car can go from comfy to roasting in minutes! Heat stroke is deadly, expensive and 100% avoidable! If your dog does overheat, douse them with cool water, blast the A/C and get them to your vet straight away!

I’d much rather be singing Happy by Pharrell this summer than humming a Lana Del Ray tune — so keep your pets safe, keep them securely confined and stay out of the pet ER! I think it’s going to be a GREAT summer!

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