Dr. Carrie's Blog

Pull out the sunglasses, ball caps, and flip-flops! Summer is in full swing. For pet owners, summer offers some of the most exciting activities to keep pets active and elated. Unfortunately, this lovely season also comes along with some less-than-fun hazards that can put a real damper on the joy of summer. While you may know not to leave your pet in the car, there are some other overlooked dangers that arise under the summer sun. Keep your pet safe by avoiding these summertime hazards:

1. The Heat + Fur Coats = Hot Dogs & Grumpy Cats

So, you know not to leave your pet in the car, but did you know that other activities can be equally as dangerous when it comes to the heat? Hikes, backyard time, and even walks can become dangerous if your pet begins to overheat. Even shade can fall short at the peak of summer.

During summer, we see a spike in heatstroke and heat exhaustion in pets. This occurs when a pet’s core body temperature becomes so high, their body’s temperature control mechanisms cannot lower their internal temperature. This can lead to organs shutting down and extreme dehydration.

If your pet begins to pant and does not seem to be able to stop, they could be overheating. If they continue to pant, call us right away.

2. Dehydration Is a Serious Health Hazard

Most pets simply do not drink enough water. This problem is compounded in the summertime when they lose additional moisture from panting. When a pet loses more water than they drink, it can lead to minor or severe dehydration.

Dogs’ and cats’ bodies are 60% water! This is the primary ingredient to cell function, organ function, and overall health.

Keep your pet hydrated on walks and while in the backyard. You can do this by putting out a few extra water bowls. Increase your pet’s overall hydration by adding water or broth to their kibble, introducing a pet water fountain, and even creating pet-friendly popsicles.

3. Standing Water Is a Breeding Ground for Disease

Pets often feel compelled to drink from puddles, lakes, ponds, and containers that collect water. While this may seem natural, these water sources can be fatal or cause severe illness.

Blue-green algae often thrive in warm, standing water. Even small amounts can cause a dog to become extremely ill and possibly die. They can also become ill from licking this substance off their coats.

Leptospirosis is a bacteria that spreads through water sources. It can even be inhaled. These bacteria cause flu-like symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea.

To discourage your pet from drinking from unknown water sources, always provide clean fresh water outdoors and on walks.

4. Skip the Buzz Cut

Many owners ask us if they should shave their dogs during summer (cat owners tend to know to ask this question for some reason). While having your dog groomed and trimmed is okay, completely shaving your dog is a no-go. Not only can buzzing off all your dog’s fur make them vulnerable to bug bites and sunburn, but it can also prevent them from being able to regulate their body temperature as well.

Instead of shaving your dog, brush them extremely well. Removing loose yet caught fur from their undercoat can increase their natural ventilation.

5. Some Dogs Can’t Swim

Who doesn’t love a cool dip in the pool during summer? Pugs for one. Actually, most brachycephalic dogs are not equipped to swim. Their short snouts make it difficult to breathe and the hazard of inhaling water becomes much more extreme for them.

Brachy breeds, along with many others, do not have the right build to stay afloat. Corgis and bulldogs both tend to struggle to keep their heads above water.

Even dogs that are built to swim may not know how to instinctively. This can lead to panic, anxiety, injury, or worse. If it’s time to teach your dog the doggy paddle, remember to start off slow and never leave your dog unattended.

Have a Sunshine-Filled, Fantastic Summer with Your Pet

As summer presses on, we hope you and your pets will enjoy all the fun in the sun you can handle. Keep in mind that back-to-school is right around the corner, so be mindful of beginning an away-from-home routine to decrease the chances of separation anxiety.

If you have questions regarding your pet’s health or think your pet may be experiencing one of these summer health hazards, do not wait to contact us. Your pet’s health, happiness, and other well-being are our top priority.