K9 Summer Safety Tips


Howard Baker - RN BSN



Summer has arrived and is in full swing with pool parties, barbecues, picnics, baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. K9 Summer Safety Tips explores the season’s most common safety hazards facing Fido and how to keep your pooch safe. I have fond childhood memories of summers spent with my Irish Setter Mrs. Murphy. It seems as if back then life was simpler — often I wonder how I made it through childhood let alone how our dogs could live a long life. Dogs are living longer today than they did a couple of decades ago. Advances in veterinary medicine and K9 evolution from an outdoor work animal to living with and becoming members of the family have a correlation with K9 longevity.

As temperatures increase, so do the opportunities for Fido to get into trouble. Whether parasites, heat, or physical, dangers lurk around every corner. With K9 Summer Safety Tips and a little preparation, you and your K9 companion can safely navigate common dangers of summer while enjoying adventures of the season.

Ticks: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lyme disease affects dogs and their human companions. Lyme disease is transmitted though tick bites and can cause recurring health problems. As with any disease, prevention is always the best medicine. Discuss reliable tick-prevention medications with your veterinarian and adhere to their recommendations. After outdoor activities such as hiking and backyard romps, check Fido for ticks as part of your normal routine. Consult your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any signs and symptoms of Lyme disease such as: Lameness, decreased activity, fever or decreased appetite.

Heat-related injury: Summer weather and heat can change rapidly and being in tune with your dog and the environmental temperature is the first step to prevent heat related injury. First if you are hot — your dog is hotter. Sidewalks and roadway surfaces can become hot quickly in the sun and burn their paws. We use Musher’s Secret to protect Hobo’s paws from heat, ice and rugged terrain. Signs and symptoms of heat related injury are: anxiety, less responsive, weak, pants harder than usual, drooling, change in gum color or their gums become tacky or dry to the touch, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and staggering are signs of heat exhaustion/stroke and is a medical emergency. Heat related injuries can result in death without immediate medical care.

Picnics and barbecues: Grilling and barbecues are great fun but, can cause serious injury from burns and food ingredients alike. Many dry-rubs contain cayenne pepper or other spices which can cause discomfort when in contact with eyes, nose, or mouth tissue. Skewers can cause internal and external injuries. Cooked bones are especially dangerous; they may splinter causing choking and/or puncturing of the intestinal track. I am not an advocate of feeding table scraps to your dog but, you are probably safe with a small treat of cooked boneless chicken or a piece of a hot dog or hamburger meat. My pack is kept clear of table scraps so I have fewer upset stomachs, happier pups, happier guest and less stress.

Swimming pools and lakes: Contrary to popular belief — dogs are not natural swimmers. If your dog is new to swimming, introduce them slowly to water and teach them to swim as you would a child. Always keep a close eye on your pooch when around swimming pools and if boating make sure your dog has a life vest on at all times. Swimming pool and lake water may have bacteria and chemicals that can harm your pet. Always keep fresh clean water available.

Trucks and cars: Dogs should never be left inside an automobile even if the windows are cracked heat can build-up fast. Properly restraining or crating your dog when traveling by car is safer for you and your dog.

Summer, is a fun time of year and taking your dog along on your summer adventures always makes life better. The most important lesson you can teach your dog is to “leave it” and never let your dog eat or play with something you have not inspected and deemed safe. When in doubt about your dog’s health — consult your veterinarian. Protect your dog from fleas and ticks, and take your dog everywhere you can — because, life is better with a dog!

Hobo is a rescue dog out to make a difference in animal rescue and education. Please follow Hobo on Facebook at Hobo the Wonder Dog or contact him at: [email protected]

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Howard Baker

RN BSN

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