YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The summer months create a great opportunity to get outside with your pet, but like humans, animals can be harmed by some of the things that go with summer-like heat, pests and other dangers.
The Humane Society of the United States warns that pets should never be left alone in a car. Not even for a minute. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, that goes up to 120 degrees.
A pet left in a hot car can suffer irreversible organ damage or death.
Humidity is also a risk. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they can’t cool themselves and their temperature can increase to a dangerous level. A dog’s temperature should not exceed 104 degrees.
It’s good to limit exercise on hot days and don’t rely on a fan to cool your pet. Dogs sweat through their feet and fans don’t cool pets as well as humans.
Amanda McGrath, assistant manager of North Memorial Animal Hospital in New Wilmington, paws can get burned in the heat.
“Be careful about asphalt. If you are walking outside on a sidewalk or parking lot. Test it with the back of your hand and if it is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for the dogs,” she said.
Pets need shade, water and a way to stay cool. Watch for signs of heat stroke that include:
- Heavy panting
- Lack of coordination
- Profuse salivation
- A deep red or purple tongue
Other summertime dangers include: (Courtesy: Firstvet.com)
- Grass seeds: Grass seeds can be troublesome for pets if they get in their eyes, nose or throat.
- Ticks: These pests are a problem all year long, but are worse in the summer. Make sure your pet has tick prevention medication.
- Algae poisoning: When some blue-green algae blooms are in lakes, streams and other bodies of water, it can be harmful to your pet. A poison can form in the water and if a dog drinks it, it can suffer from raid poisoning.
- Barbecue and table scraps: Bags of garbage can contain sharp pieces of glass, wooden skewers or metal grills, as well as packaging and food scraps, such as bones. If chewed and swallowed, pieces of bone can puncture the delicate stomach or get stuck in the dog’s mouth, esophagus or further down the intestine. Corn cobs are also not digestible, and therefore can easily get stuck in the intestine.
- Insect bites and stings: Stings from wasps, ants and mosquitoes rarely make dogs ill, but they can be itchy and sore. Some dogs are also sensitive and may have an allergic reaction. Keeping your pet on a leash helps to avoid some of these issues.
- Seawater: If a dog drinks too much seawater, they are likely to suffer from salt poisoning. Offer fresh water to a pet that has taken in a lot of salt water.
- Sunburn: Pets can get sunburn. A sunburn on a pet can develop into cancer, so try to keep your pet in the shade as much as possible.
- Drowning: Dogs are good swimmers, but some dogs do drown, especially if they fall from a boat, pool edge or dock.
Keep in mind that pets are curious and can get up close to things that they should stay far away from such as toads. Toads have glands on their back that can secrete poison. If a dog licks a toad, it can get sick. Snake bites, fleas and fish hooks also pose a danger for pets.
The best advice to owners is to keep a close eye on their pets when outside and make sure they are prepared to handle an emergency if one comes up. Keep your veterinarian’s phone number in your phone and make note of the nearest 24-hour pet care clinic.