Summer is the perfect time to explore with your pet, but before your next adventure, ensure you are aware of common summertime pet emergencies. Our furry friends like to keep us on our toes, and if they have an accident, you may end up with a costly veterinary bill. When you understand your pet’s summer health risks, you can help them avoid the hazards. Our Creature Comforts Veterinary Services team explains summer’s most common pet emergencies, and how you and your pet can avoid them.
#1. Heatstroke in pets
During hot weather, your pet can easily become overheated, leading to heatstroke and other heat-related conditions that can cause organ failure and death without immediate veterinary treatment. So, continually monitor your pet for overheating signs, especially when they are outdoors. Dehydration may cause your overheated pet to pant heavily, become lethargic, and drink excessively. Other heatstroke signs include:
- Bright red gums
Fortunately, you can help your pet keep cool this summer. Help your pet avoid a heat-related emergency by following these summertime health tips:
- Provide fresh, cool water — Ensure your pet has access to fresh, cool, water throughout the day, and always bring water and a portable bowl on an outdoor adventure with your pet.
- Provide shade — Hike with your pet on trails with plenty of tree cover.
- Limit outdoor activity — On extremely hot or humid days, walk your pet during the early morning or late evening, when the temperatures are cooler. Keep walks short, and prevent your pet from overdoing it.
- Never leave your pet in a parked car — A vehicle’s interior temperature can reach dangerously high levels in minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows rolled down do little to keep the temperature at a safe level. Always leave your pet at home when your destination is not pet-friendly.
#2: Toxin ingestion by pets
Pets are always on the hunt for tasty treats, but they are unable to distinguish between a pet-safe food and a potential toxin. To prevent your pet from being poisoned, be aware of the following pet-toxic items that may be in and around your home:
- Toxic plants — Many common plants can be poisonous to your pet, so do your research before bringing home new plants. Toxic plants include lilies, aloe vera, sago palms, and azaleas. If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous plant, immediately contact our Creature Comforts Veterinary Services team or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
- Medications — Securely store all medications in cabinets out of pets’ reach. Never give your pet human medication without your veterinarian’s recommendation. Many common pain medications—aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen—can be dangerous for pets.
- Table scraps — Many human foods can harm your pet. Do not give them table scraps, especially chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, and avocados.
#3: Bites and stings in pets
During the summer, insects and snakes are much more active, increasing your pet’s bite and sting risk. Minimize your pet’s flea and tick bite risk by ensuring they are on a regular parasite prevention regimen. To help your pet avoid a snake bite, keep them on a leash when walking in snake habitation areas. If your pet is bitten by a snake or has an allergic reaction to a sting, contact your veterinarian, and take your pet to an emergency care facility to get immediate treatment if necessary.
#4: Pet water emergencies
Summer is a great time for a cooling dip in the swimming pool or splashing in the waves at the beach, but water activities can pose many hazards for your pet. To keep your pet safe around water, take the following precautions:
- Monitor your pet – Your pet may be a strong swimmer, but an accident is always a possibility if they become tired. Check your pet frequently while they are in the pool to ensure they remain safe.
- Put your pet in a life jacket — Regardless of their athletic ability, your pet can easily tire while swimming, and a pet life jacket ensures they will float safely.
- Bring fresh water for your pet — Your pet may be tempted to quench their thirst by drinking lake water, which may contain pathogens and toxins that can be hazardous to their health. Also, salty ocean water can harm your pet. Bring fresh water for your pet, and encourage them to drink from a portable bowl.
Help your pet avoid common summer hazards, and focus on having fun together, knowing you are prepared if your pet experiences an emergency. Contact our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team if you would like to learn more about keeping your pet safe, or if your pet experiences a summer health emergency.