A large part of my job at Mydeye is attending craft fairs and vendor fairs. It always amazes me the places that will allow you to bring your pets - and that is an awesome thing. The socialization that these locations offer are a great opportunity for training.
But it also amazes me the number of pet owners that bring their pets out in the summer heat, and don't provide them with water to keep them from being dehydrated. Can you imagine walking around in a fur coat on an 80 degree day with no water? But in addition to over heating, there are other dangers out there for your pets, that are specific to summer activities:
1. Bee Stings and Snake Bites
Pets can be just as susceptible to bee allergies and snake venom as people are, and summer is when these little (or not so little) buggers are out in force. There are specific steps you can take to mitigate the chance that these two events turn into a major health problem. Vetstreet.com offers a great article for how to treat bee stings, and reachvet.com offers tips for dealing with those slithery nuisances!
2. Seasonal Allergies
According to a survey conducted by Novartis Animal Health, over half of pet owners aren't aware that their pets can spend the spring and summer months just as miserable as their owners thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens. Healthypets.mercola.com has a great article on seasonal allergies and how you can prevent them from becoming a year round problem.
3. Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes
Although the risk for heartworm and other diseases transmitted from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes is year round, the risks are that much higher in the spring and summer months. And the rate of these diseases, even in the human population is skyrocketing. So keep your family as safe as possible by making sure that your pets are on flea & tick preventative year round.
4. Heat Stroke
Much has been written about not leaving your dog in a car in the summer time, but often people have misconceptions on what is OK and what's not when it comes to their dogs or cats overheating to a dangerous level. The general rule of thumb is if you are hot or thirsty, so is your dog. But Dogtime.com has some great information on this potentially deadly problem in warm and hot temperatures.
5. Poisonous Plants
There are many plants that are commonly seen all over the US, but are completely toxic to dogs - sometimes unbeknownst to their owners! Check out my previous blog post for a list of the top 10 culprits, or go to the Pet Poison Helpline for a complete list.
Believe it or not, dogs are just as susceptible to sunburn as we are, and it is just as dangerous and painful for them. Particularly prevalent in dogs with white or lighter colored fur, all dogs should be protected from the sun with an all natural sun block. Just make sure the sunscreen you use does NOT contain any kind of Zinc - which is toxic to dogs. You can find a couple of recipes here and here if you want to make your own doggie sunbalm!
7. Chemical Poisons
Between fertilizers and pesticides on the lawn and critter poisons to get rid of the mice / gophers / rats, etc - the opportunities for chemical poisons abound during the summer months, when pets are outside more often. PetMD.com has some tips on what you can do if you suspect your pet has been poisoned - and what symptoms to look for.
While a lot of dogs take naturally to water, many just don't. Treat your dog like you would your kids, and don't give them the opportunity to be alone in a body of water until you are absolutely sure that they are comfortable and able to swim in deep water.
9. Fireworks and Thunderstorms
While not fundamentally "dangerous" to your pets (unless you are out in a lightning storm, or your neighbor is shooting bottle rockets into your front yard) the noise and sharp sounds from fireworks and thunderstorms can un-nerve many pets. Some dogs react great with a Thundershirt, and some just need some extra TLC during those times. In worst case scenarios, your veterinarian can prescribe some sedatives for you to use to ease your pets through these situations.