With temperatures set to rise to 40 degrees, many will start to take their furry friends out more than ever to explore and exercise their legs.
While 25% of poisoned pets recover within two hours, the experts at Puppy Hero wanted to outline the most typical risks to our canine friends throughout Summer. To do this, they examined several threats and determined the most dangerous and how to keep dogs safe this season.
Common risks for your dog this summer
Food and drink
- Boned food – Although we may think bones are a dog’s best friend, they are dangerous. Not only can sharp fragments damage the mouth, they can also damage the stomach and intestines. The bones best to avoid are pork and rib as they are more likely to splinter or shatter, but in general, it is good to be aware when serving barbecue food that often contains this, especially when your furry friends are around.
- Seeded food – A huge number of seeds we include in our meals are healthy for dogs to consume too, but there are a few foods that need to be watched out for, such as cherries, plums, peaches, apples and poppy seeds. To our surprise, avocados should be avoided entirely as the stone and skin are extremely harmful due to the toxin called Persin, which may result in your pet suffering from breathing difficulties, sickness and diarrhoea.
- Barbecue sauce – A tasty addition to our burgers, most barbecue sauce has been deemed unsafe for our pooches. Salt and sugar are two ingredients that can contribute to kidney failure in dogs, and this sauce has been shown to have high levels. Often, this sauce contains garlic and onions, which are also toxic and could cause severe medical problems to our dogs, so keep the sauce lid on and plates up high to stop these curious creatures from sneaking a lick.
- Ticks – Commonly found in woodland and grassy areas, the small parasites attach to animals’ skin to feed; their egg-shaped bodies expand and turn a dark browny-red colour once in the skin. The parasite needs to be removed immediately after being spotted, but do not squeeze it as it can still leave the body or head, causing an infection.
- Bee or wasp stings – Dogs are curious creatures, and one insect they tend to pay the most attention to is bees or wasps, often resulting in being stung. The stung area may then become swollen and itchy. It is rare for an allergic reaction to occur, but if it does, it can cause breathing difficulty, especially if it happens to the nose or mouth.
- Fertiliser and pesticides – Fertilisers can cause stomach irritation to our furry friends, a common issue due to their inquisitive nature. The symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, salivating and a painful abdomen, but pesticides can cause muscle tremors and possibly seizures. Always rinse your dog’s paws after they have been outside.
Flowers and plants
- Elder – Elderberries are both nutritious and safe for our pooches, and with their curious nature, they will likely be consumed. However, the leaves, stem, unripe fruit and root are poisonous as they contain cyanide which can be deadly within a few minutes.
- Lilies – A beautiful but toxic flower, Lily poisonings are rare for our canine companions but are still toxic if ingested or contacted by the skin. There will be signs that the flower has impacted your dog through vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
- Foxglove – A honey-bees best friend, the trumpet-like blossoms are poisonous to dogs, cats and sometimes humans. Foxglove poisoning mostly occurs from the flowers being sucked out of the seeds, stems, or leaves that have been eaten, and this flower contains a naturally-occurring poison that affects the heart, which can cause fatalities.
Out and about
- Heat stroke – If animals lose the ability to regulate their body temperature and can’t get rid of excess heat through sweating, their fur coat makes it difficult to lose heat through their skin. Make sure fresh drinking water is available at all times, and it is best to walk them during the coolest part of the day, either early morning or late evening.
- Barbecues – Everyone’s favourite thing to do in Summer is to have a barbecue, but your dog mustn’t sneak a treat away. Certain food and drinks can be hazardous and toxic to our pets, such as corn on the cob, raw garlic, beer and wine, plus many more. Make sure anything a dog can consume is high on a counter that is inaccessible to them.
- Swimming pools, seas, rivers and lakes – Although your dog might like to take a dip, open water is particularly dangerous due to the depth and the strong currents, gradually introducing them to different water levels rather than beginning with the deep end. It is also important to keep an eye out for blue-green algae, these particularly are more common after a heat wave, and the blooms produce harmful toxins that can stop a dog’s liver from properly functioning.
Mustafa Tshash, pet behaviour specialist and co-founder of Howto-pets, commented on how the warmer months affect dogs: “During the summer months, we often notice a common theme in dogs’ behaviour and well-being. Some dogs may experience increased lethargy or restlessness; heat-intolerant breeds could become snappish and need more space, resulting in them resting more during the hotter parts of the day.
“Their appetite may also decrease due to heat, decreased activity levels, or other factors – if your dog is maintaining a healthy weight and shows no signs of illness, then eating less is not a cause for concern unless it is severe or persistent.
“I have encountered all different unexpected situations while caring for dogs, such as drowning from them falling into lakes, pools or other bodies of water. BBQ gatherings are extremely popular during summer, but this gives dogs access to harmful foods or possible burns before the grill.
“Bee or insect stings are common to dogs, and in the warmer months, dogs are more prone to escape or get lost, especially if they become anxious or frightened – ensure your dog has proper identification such as microchips or ID tags and keep them in a secure and calming environment during stressful situations.”