Summertime Hazards for you Pet- Part Two

posted: by: Alison Skala, DVM Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Summertime Hazards for your Pet- Part Two


            Summer holidays are fast approaching- do you have plans for fireworks, picnics or swimming in the lake or pool?  There are many summertime activities that can become hazardous to your pet but there are precautions you can take to keep your pet safe (and avoid a visit to the emergency room!)  Remember that the summertime activities you enjoy can be frightening or dangerous for your furry companions.


Swimming Safety:

            While you may enjoy a dip in the pool or jumping off the dock at the lake, remember that not all dogs are good swimmers.  If you decide to take your dog swimming, introduce them to water gradually and use flotation devices on all dogs while in boats, including those dogs that are good swimmers.  There are life preservers made specifically for dogs and they come sized for both small and large dogs, so make sure you try it on your dog for proper fit before your boating trip.  Whether your dog is swimming in a pool, lake or ocean, make sure to rinse your dog well to remove chlorine, salt or algae from their coats.  And don’t let your dog drink the water:  pool water can contain chlorine or other chemicals than can be toxic; pond water can contain algae which can cause fatal toxicities if there is an algal bloom; and salt water can cause a serious salt intoxication if high levels are ingested. 


Picnic Safety:

            Having a picnic with family and friends may include your 4-legged friends, but there are some safety tips to ensure that everyone has a fun (and hazard-free) time.  You may want to share some picnic food with your pet at your celebration (or friends or family may try to sneak a treat to your pet) but remember that even a small amount of food that is not your pet’s normal diet can cause serious digestive problems- vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis can be seen.  There are some foods, like raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, chocolate and foods that contain xylitol (like gum or candy) that can be very toxic or fatal to your dog if ingested.  It is also important to keep your dog away from alcoholic beverages.  These can cause intoxication, weakness, severe depression and even comas or death in severe cases.  Finally, watch your dog closely after you finish grilling- dogs can get burns from trying to lick the grill or tools that are still hot and they may try to eat the grease that spilled on the ground.  This can cause pancreatitis or severe gastroenteritis.


Firework Safety:

            Fireworks can be amazing and fun for you and your family, but loud, crowded firework displays can be scary and confusing for your pet.  It’s best to leave your pet at home in a quiet, escape proof environment when you go to watch fireworks.  You may want to leave the air conditioning on and windows closed to minimize noise and consider leaving the TV or radio on for distraction.  Don’t set off fireworks when your pet is outside with you.  Besides being scary, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma to the face, paws and skin of your pet.  Make sure your pet's identification tags and microchip information are up to date in case they get loose or separated from you.  Finally, unused fireworks contain toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals, so make sure you store unused fireworks in a pet-proof location.          


If you do have a pet emergency over the holiday, call Green Meadows Veterinary Hospital (614-846-9644) (we are open regular hours Friday and Saturday, closed on Thursday July 4th) or your local emergency veterinary hospital (Medvet 614-846-5800 or OSU 614-292-3551) which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Hopefully, you and your pet will have a fun and safe holiday!