Summer is a time of fun in the sun, outdoor activities, and late nights watching the fireflies. But, summer can also bring with it some unique health challenges for your dog. It’s always best to prepare for any summertime outing with the right supplies and routine care. Here are some of the top summer dangers for dogs, and what to do if your dog experiences one.
Heat stroke is one of the most common summertime issues. Long days out in the sun or on the beach can lead to health issues that can be severe. Signs of heat stroke in dogs include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lethargy or confusion, and vomiting. If you notice your dog experiencing these symptoms, it is best to seek shade, cool off your dog as much as possible, and seek emergency veterinary treatment.
Luckily, measures can be taken to decrease the chances of heat stroke. Be sure to take breaks in the shade often if you’ll be in a warm or sunny area, and keep your dog off hot pavement or sand during the hottest parts of the day. It’s also a good idea to give your dog access to fresh, cool water at all times. A mister or cooling bandana can also help.
While ear infections are common year-round, they can see a increase in intensity in the summer months. Foreign bodies getting into the ears during hiking trips may also lead to an infection. Signs of infection include excessive head shaking, pawing at the ears, oozing of debris from the ear canal, and pain upon touching the ears. It’s a good idea to inspect your dog’s ears daily, especially if you’ll be traveling in tall grass or brush. If you do notice problems, a vet visit for some prescription ear meds and a thorough cleaning are best.
Summer brings with it a surge in parasites, which can lead to hot spots forming on your dog’s skin. Fleas wake from their dormancy, and ticks become more prevalent in wooded or brush-filled areas. A hot spot can form from excessive parasite bites that irritate the skin. Other issues, such as skin allergies can also lead to hot spots. Signs of a hot spot include redness or hair loss in an area, itchiness or excessive licking of the spot, and swelling or debris oozing from it.
Hot spots should be treated by your vet. Your vet will likely clip and clean the area, and then provide any medications as needed. It’s also important to keep your dog on regular parasite prevention to avoid any issues before they begin.
While allergies can happen at any time of year, outdoor allergies can surge as you and your dog spend more time outdoors. You may notice your dog showing symptoms such as sneezing, having clear discharge from the eyes or nose, or pawing at their face. In addition, dogs may have skin reactions such as red, itchy spots, irritation, swelling, and hair loss. Allergy medications can help treat seasonal allergies. Your vet can recommend a safe over the counter medication, or prescribe a stronger allergy medicine as needed.
Getting lost isn’t a health issue, but it’s still a top summer danger for dogs. A dog can easily escape a car on a road trip or break free of a leash when out hiking. However, steps can be taken to ensure your dog is returned to you safely. Make sure your dog has information clearly labeled on their collar or tags. And, be sure to microchip your dog in the event their collar is lost or they are turned into a shelter. Finally, make sure the information on their collar and microchip is kept up to date.
More summer safety tips
While these top summer dangers for dogs can seem scary, they can be easy to avoid with preparation and awareness. Now that you know what they are, check out our other summer safety tips for dogs, as well as how to keep your dog safe from bee stings.
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