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home : columns : columns June 24, 2016

7/8/2014 2:28:00 PM
The Hidden Dangers of Summertime
Jasper keeps cool on the shady grass in high summer heat. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
+ click to enlarge
Jasper keeps cool on the shady grass in high summer heat. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

You've been playing ball outdoors with Fido for over 20 minutes on a very warm sunny day; suddenly he begins to pant heavily and starts to vomit. You had forgotten how hot it was outside, since you were wearing shorts and sandals. Lucky for you that Fido began to cool down once you brought him inside the house in the air-conditioning and began to get hydrated again with a big bowl of water.

Summer can be a very dangerous time for your pets. Most people remember about things like fleas and ticks. However, the biggest danger to your furry friend during the summer is something you can't see, smell or hear. Heat stroke is a common occurrence in dogs. Most people won't recognize the early warning signs that a dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, which left untreated leads to heat stroke and ultimately death.

Dehydration can happen as a result of overheating. Be sure your dog has access to plenty of water, whether you are out playing with him or he is left alone when you are running errands, since it's too hot to take him in the car with you.

If you're hot, your furry friend is even hotter. Providing shade, shelter and fresh water to your dog when he is outside is extremely important during the summer.

Always supervise your dog. No matter where he is, or how well you might think he is trained, you need to keep an eye on your pooch. There are too many unknown hazards that could hurt him, whether playing ball in a park or just clowning around by the river.

Make sure you bring Fido's leash and collar, even if he won't be restrained while playing.

You and your furry pal may want to cool down at the beautiful Oregon Coast to have fun in the sun and water, but did you know that dehydration can occur when your pooch is right next to the water? Salt water can be harmful to animals. Ingesting the salt increases dehydration, because it draws water into the intestines. Salt water can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, and lead to bigger problems, if your dog doesn't get clean fresh water.

Dogs, just like humans, can also get sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer. If Fido has light-colored fur on the nose or ears, they are more susceptible to skin cancer. Keep him inside if possible during the hottest part of the day.

Freshwater lakes and rivers are abundant in Central Oregon and loads of fun for everyone, including your furry pal. Many pet parents remove their dog's collar and tags while playing in the water or on a boat. If lost, your furry friend may not be able to return home

Get a pet life-jacket for your dog, and train him to wear it while boating. Like humans, even the strongest swimmer can get a leg cramp.

While some freshwater algae may be harmless, freshwater lakes still provide their own set of hazards, and one of the most dangerous is toxic algae levels and parasites. It is much safer to bring along your own fresh cool water for your dog to drink.

Summertime can be perfect for backyard barbecues, parties and going to festivals, but remember that the food and drink being served may be poisonous to your dog.

Backyard barbecues can be fun, but sometimes Fido can be quicker than you think and grab a piece of meat, like a chicken leg off the table in no time. It doesn't matter whether they're from chicken wings or pork ribs, cooked meat bones cause all sorts of problems, especially if they get lodged in the mouth or throat. Make sure your guests have somewhere to dispose of their carnivorous waste well out of your pooch's way.

It might be best to leave Fido at home when going to large outdoor festivals or events. A crowd can be overwhelming and it increases the chances of injury, dehydration and exhaustion. Loud noises could cause him to frighten and suddenly pull away from you, even while on a leash.

The bottom line: keep an eye on your dog and don't leave him unattended. It's important to exercise common sense and proceed with caution to help keep your dog safe, like any other member of the family. Summertime comes with its own set of hazards, so make sure you are familiar with the risks. Learn what warning signs mean trouble and when in doubt, call your veterinarian right way. The summer will be much easier for you and your dog to enjoy!

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