Summer is approaching fast – bringing with it longer days, sunny weather, and vacations galore! Although it is arguably the best season of the year, there are many things to stay cautious of during summer months. Of course, nothing can be purely good, there has to be unpleasant things to balance out the awesomeness! Make sure you do the following things this summer for your pets’ safety and well-being:
1. Beat the Heat – The most obvious (and the most harmful) aspect about the summer is the significant increase in temperature that we experience as spring comes to a close. While it means swimming pools, iced teas, and beach days for us, for our pets it means a struggle to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion. Luckily, there are many things you can do to prevent your pet from falling victim to a heatstroke or any such heat-related illness. If you follow our advice in that article as well as keep a close eye on your pet’s health, then you will be completely fine. There are many pets that require special treatment in these upcoming summer months, such as the Chinchilla, who needs refrigerated slabs of marble in its cage in order to keep cool. The Chinchilla, Rabbit, and select other pets CANNOT get wet (for risk of hypothermia) so there are methods (such as the marble slab) to ensure that they don’t overheat! Also, I cannot stress this enough – DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET OUTSIDE IN THE HEAT, and *NEVER* LEAVE THEM IN THE CAR. EVER. EVEN IF IT’S JUST FOR “A MINUTE OR TWO!” A special caution to owners of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs (smushed-nosed breeds), your dog can overheat WAY EASIER than other dogs so be careful.
2. Beware of Bug Bites and Stings – In addition to the usual flea, ticks, and mites that your pet needs protection from (especially in the spring and summer), there are a host of other creepy crawlies that scurry around, ready to sting or bite your pet. Studies show that pets are TWICE as likely to be a victim of a bug bite or sting in the summer months, and about 1/4 of these “attacks” are perpetrated by bees! While stings and bites are usually just uncomfortable and relatively harmless, sometimes they can be poisonous and/or venomous, requiring an emergency trip to the vet in order to receive treatment. Even if the sting/bite isn’t inherently toxic, it could spark an allergic reaction in your pet which could possibly result in them going into anaphylactic shock, which could be fatal if not treated right away. Symptoms to look out for are nausea, difficulty breathing, disorientation, lethargy, and any other kind of unusual behavior. To avoid these kinds of dangers, make sure that you don’t take your pet into an area that is teeming with harmful bugs, and try to watch your pet as much as possible when it is alone in your backyard. Another thing to look out for is dead bees that are on the ground – they can still sting your pet if they step on it!
3. Skin Safety Is Crucial – Especially if your pet already has sensitive skin, and/or is prone to skin infections, you MUST make sure to keep an eye on your pets’ skin in case they are having a reaction of some kind. Around spring time, many pets begin having skin issues related to the allergens, bugs, and plants that the warmer seasons tend to bring. For many pets, the change in air pressure, temperature, and moisture also cause their skin to become inflamed, dry, itchy, and greasy. In the summer, pets are 16% more likely to have a skin-related illness, so it’s important to stay cognizant of the symptoms that accompany skin infection or issues. Look out for any abnormal scratching, biting, chewing, and/or licking of your pet’s paws, backside, stomach, or any other part of their body. If you notice an area that is irritated, or if you see that your pet’s fur is missing in a couple spots, it probably has some kind of skin issue. As long as you are aware of your pets’ actions and behaviors, then you will know if it has a skin problem or not.
4. Get the Grapes Out of Sight – For some reason, grape and raisin-related emergencies are 40% more likely to occur in the summer! Grapes and their wrinkly counterparts are extremely toxic to dogs, cats, and almost every other pet as well – so keep them hidden and out of reach to your fur children. If you fail to keep these dangerous fruits out of your pets’ grasps, then you are looking at a MINIMUM $700 vet bill, and some owners have been known to pay over $3,000 to save their pet from a grape-related incident. That is not only startlingly expensive, but there is a HUGE chance that your pet can die if they aren’t treated soon enough after the deadly fruit is eaten. There are many things that have grapes in it that you might not even be aware of, like fruit salads, smoothies, salads, and dips – and even MORE things with raisins in them such as cookies, trail mixes, cereals, snack bars, and other desserts! Just because you don’t have a box of raisins doesn’t mean that you are safe. As long as you keep an eye on your pets, keep food safely tucked away, and watch out for any odd behavior, you should be fine.
5. Keep the Corn Cobs Away – What is a backyard barbecue without a good ol’ corn on the cob, lightly charred to perfection, sprinkled with salt, and slathered with butter? Well, for one, it’d be a way safer barbecue – considering that if a dog, cat, or any such pet somehow ingests corn cob material, it can cause serious health problems. If the piece of corn cob gets lodged in the intestine, stomach, colon, or any other area, there could be a bowel obstruction that needs to be treated by a vet. Not to mention, if the cob is lodged in the pet’s esophagus, then it could possibly choke to death. Corn cobs are extremely dangerous because they are completely indigestible (kind of like the corn that comes off of them) and they are also very rough in texture. However, sometimes, the animal can strike some good luck and pass the cob (poop it out), but you shouldn’t bank on that! Avoid the whole situation altogether by either NOT having corn on the cob at the cookout (sad, I know), OR just being careful that NO ONE leaves a corn cob unattended. Also make sure that you dispose of any and ALL corn cobs in a receptacle that your pet cannot get into.
These are just a few summertime hazards to look out for, although I am sure there are plenty more! If you have any stories, experiences, or advice to share related to summer dangers, please comment and let us know. We’d love to add it to the list so that future readers can keep their pets safe in the upcoming summer months. Arm yourself with knowledge, there is no such thing as being too safe! Happy summer, and enjoy the beautiful weather!