The bright sunshine, a cool breeze in your hair, and a drink in your hand is the perfect recipe for a gorgeous summer day—made better if your furry pal is by your side. While you and your pet are enjoying the weather, stay safe in the hot summer sun during your various seasonal activities by keeping a close eye on your four-legged friend, and watching for these four common summertime pet emergencies. As always, the Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care team is here to help your furry pal if you find them in a troublesome situation.
#1: Heatstroke in pets
Heatstroke is one of the most common pet summertime emergencies, since overheating can occur in relatively mild temperatures. Pets have been known to suffer from heatstroke in 70-degree temperatures, especially if left in cars, or they’re too active in the hot sun, without adequate water and shade. While any pet can suffer from heatstroke, those at most risk include:
- Pediatric or geriatric pets
- Pets with thick or double coats, especially if matted
- Flat-faced breeds
- Obese pets
- Pets with cardiac or respiratory conditions
- Working or sporting dogs
If your furry pal falls into one of these categories, watch them extra closely for the following heatstroke signs:
- Excessive, heavy panting
- Thick, ropy drool
- Dark red gums
- Disorientation and lack of coordination
- Staggering and collapse
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Keep your pet from overheating during summertime activities by providing plenty of fresh water, adequate shade, and proper ventilation. Avoid playing or exercising in the heat of the day, and opt instead for early morning or late evening playtimes. Monitor your pet when outdoors for any heatstroke warning signs, and contact your family veterinarian, or our team, at the first hint of trouble. Pets who are overheating can quickly succumb to heatstroke, and every heatstroke case constitutes an emergency, to prevent irreversible organ damage.
#2: Pets and water hazards
When enjoying the summer sun, you’re likely to spend some time on the water, at a beach, or in the pool. If your furry pal joins you, remember these key facts, to keep your pet safe.
- Fresh water — Always provide fresh water for your pet to drink, rather than allowing them to slurp down chlorinated pool water, or saltwater. Toxicity can occur if your pet drinks too much saltwater, and can appear as seizures and severe dehydration. Without prompt treatment to correct the sodium imbalance in the body, pets can die from saltwater toxicity.
- Life vest — Keep in mind that not all pups who go swimming are good dog paddlers, so consider putting a vest on your dog when in deep water, or stick to the shallow end, where your pooch can stay above water.
#3: Insect bites or stings in pets
Insects also ramp up their summertime activities, which can pose a threat to your pet’s health. Bees, wasps, hornets, fire ants, and spiders are important pests to watch for when outside with your furry pal, as these insects can create issues that range from mild itching to a severe anaphylactic reaction. Depending on the bite or sting severity, your pet may simply need urgent care to alleviate the itching, or emergency care, if their muzzle swells enough to restrict breathing. Keep your pet away from insect nests, and if they do get stung or bitten, watch closely for a dangerous reaction, such as a swollen face or difficulties breathing.
#4: Pets’ dietary indiscretion
Summertime is the perfect time for barbecues with friends and family, and cooking on the grill. However, avoid adding your four-legged friend to your guest list, since cookouts are rife with tasty, yet hazardous, treats for your pet. Corn on the cob, metal or wooden skewers, rib bones, hot dogs, steak fat, and pasta salads loaded with mayonnaise, garlic, and onions all pose a threat to your furry pal’s gastrointestinal system. If your pooch snatches a rib bone from the trash, or off the grill, there’s a good chance you’ll need to halt your Saturday barbecue for an emergency foreign body removal surgery. Foods high in fat can cause life-threatening pancreatitis, while garlic and onions can lead to anemia.
Pets can also suffer from less tasty dietary indiscretions when outdoors. As you spruce up your flower beds, and coerce your garden into producing a cornucopia of bounty, pet hazards include fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, mulch, and toxic plants. Although your pet may be a digging champion, keep them away from your gardening supplies, and flex your green thumb while they are occupied indoors.
If your furry friend experiences a summertime emergency after normal business hours, and your family veterinarian is unavailable, turn to the Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care team. Our doors are always open to care for your beloved companion—simply give us a call.