Summer and Animals
Summer is often a time when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens. But beware: Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your companion animal ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals. For more information, see our list of dangerous plants.
Companion animals and pools can equal disaster. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise an animal in a pool.
Provide plenty of water and shade for your animals while they're enjoying the great outdoors so they can stay cool.
Companion animals need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your animal's paws.
Animals can get sunburned too, and your animal may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Companion animals with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.
Don't take your companion animals to crowded summer events such as concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for animals. For your animal's well being, leave her at home. Be especially aware of these threats during holidays.
In summer heat your companion animal can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These conditions are very serious and could cause your animal to die. You should be aware of the signs of heat stress, which could include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. If your companion animal does become overheated, you need to immediately lower his body temperature. Move your companion animal into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your companion animal's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get him to a veterinarian immediately.
It is very dangerous, and in some states illegal, to drive with a dog in the back of a pick-up truck. Not only can flying debris cause serious injury, but a dog may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car. Dogs should ride either in the cab (in a crate or wearing a seat belt harness designed for dogs) or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck.