Top Summer Dangers for Dogs

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The sun is shining, and the birds are singing (well, it’s raining as I write this, but that’s the theory). The Great British summer is something that nearly everyone enjoys. It enables us to get out more with our dogs. However, as with every season, summer brings its own dangers, including heatstroke, horrible flying and crawly things, and dart-like grass seeds.   Then, water brings dangers such as drowning, blue-green algae, and maybe some you haven’t thought of, such as Toads, seawater and fishing hooks.

We hope you enjoy our Top summer Dangers series, and if you have any feedback, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Algae poisoning

Blue-green algae can be found in lakes, streams, and seas and is a common summer danger for dogs. It is a poisonous alga to dogs and a cause of death., If a dog drinks or swims in the water, it can inject affected water and, within 15 minutes, can suffer from rapid and often fatal algae poisoning. Read more about how to prevent blue-green algae poisoning in dogs.

Barbecue and picnic scraps

BBQs and panics are extremely popular in summer. After all, what is  better than having a couple of friends around with a few drinks in the garden and the chance for the man of the house to show off his BBQ skills

Our four-legged friends have a remarkable ability to smell food (over 300 million receptors in the nose and 40 ties better at processing compared to the human, which has about 6 million). Once they have sniffed them out, they will try and raid the leftovers without a doubt. It is important to make sure that both you and your friends dispose of leftovers carefully, especially bones as if they are chewed, and splinters in the stomach can cause puncture wounds, amongst other things. Please place them in strong rubbish bags ad put them straight in the bin so that annuals (including foxes) cannot get them.

As well as food scraps and bones, BBQs (and picnics) bring other dangers to dogs, such as alcohol glass, wooden skewers, or metal grills.

If your dog swallows foreign objects or shows any discomfort or abdominal pain, please get in touch with your vet immediately.


We tend to think of dogs as being good swimmers. This is not always the case, as some dogs have to be taught to swim. Some dogs like Pugs and Frenchies don’t make good swimmers at all (It is a sad fact that every year an estimated 5000 dogs drownIt is important to remember that should your dog fall into the water from the side of a boat or a jetty, they can be very hard to retrieve especially bigger dogs as most will panic or try and climb out themselves and if they can’t, the risk of drowning is high even under full supervision.

While many dogs happily jump o the water and swim, it is important to remember they will become exhausted and get into trouble.

If you are spending time by the water, I recommend a doggy buoyancy aid to make it easier for the dog to swim and pull out, as they generally have a rescue handle.

What to do if your dog is unconscious due to swallowing water

A quick response is needed to help a dog that has aspirated water. For small dogs, hold them vertically, with their head pointing down towards the floor, to enable water to drain out by gravity. Place larger dogs on one side, ideally on a downhill slope with their head and neck lower than their trunk, so the water can run out. Carefully pull the tongue forwards and place it hanging out of one side of the mouth. Check that there is nothing inside the mouth and that the airways are clear.

If the dog is not breathing, cardiac resuscitation must be given. Contact your vet for instructions on how to do this and what steps to take before transporting the dog to a veterinary clinic. Dry the dog to prevent it from getting cold (hypothermia) on the way to the vet.

Some important Water Safety tips for you and your four-legged friend

  • Ensure that your dog is wearing a life jacket around boats, jetties, and docks
  • Supervised dogs as they get on and off boats so they do not slip
  • Make sure your dog has a safe area when onboard
  • Always know where your dog is and keep a close eye on him.
  • Here is our article on water safety tips

Grass seeds

Grass seeds are like little darts and can cause a dog many problems and discomfort, especially If they get into the ear canal or up the nose.

Some dogs (like y Roxy) can be sensitive to grass seeds or pollen dust and suffer skin problems. If a dog does suffer from allergies, then look carefully for any of the offending objects and remove the

If a dog gets grass seed in the ear, nose or eye, then you must consult your vet as soon as Further possible info on grass seeds can be read in our article here; alternatively, read about a dog with grass seed up their nose.

Heatstroke – a BIG summer danger for dogs

Heatstroke is probably No1 of the summer dangers as vets see hundreds of dogs suffering from heatstroke every year due to how sensitive dogs are to heat and don’t sweat in the same way humans do.

While dogs can get heatstroke if walked in the midday sun, one of the biggest causes is leaving dogs in hot cars as the temperature rises very, very quickly, even in the shade,

Not only does Heat Stroke cause the dog to suffer. It can cause a series of internal damage to organs and be life-threatening.

Hot Pavements and dog paws

A common summer danger for dogs is hot pavements and tarmac. Pavements get very hot in the summer (hotter than the air temperature) and so will cause discomfort to your dog. Hot pavements, especially tarmac could even cause burns to your dogs’ paws

A very simple test is to place the back of your hand on the pavement. If it feels hot and uncomfortable on the back of your hand, then it is too hot for your dog. Find out more about dogs and pavements

Hot spots (Moist eczema)

“Hot Spots”, or its formal name, which is moist eczema, are quite common in dogs during summer months, even more so if a dog has dense fur and has regular baths.

Most hot spots occur in areas that the dog scratches, such as the back of the neck. As a result of frequent scratching, the skin develops an ulcerated, red patch. Bacteria spread quickly in a hot, humid environment. Due to it being the ideal environment for bacteria to grow, the hotspot will grow rapidly and be painful.

When drying your dog, take your time, as this can help prevent them


With climate change, it now means ticks are on the increase and getting far more common, which means they can be found most of the year. Ticks are nasty creatures, and biting their victim can spread Lymdiseasee to our dogs.

Using effective tick repellent and other control methods is the key to preventing any disease from spreading. I would also advise keeping a tick-removing tool when out on dog walks and remove any you see fast and efficiently.

Find out more about ticks in dogs here.


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Seawater is something that most owners probably do not think about. Be honest, did you? Ingesting large amounts of salty water can cause salt poisoning. Unlike any other forms of poisoning, they may not vomit as such or show other signs.

If your dog has been in or near saltwater, make sure they drink fresh water afterwards. They must not drink large quantities in one go but little and often. The best dinner to give them when returning from the beach or other places with salty water is cooked rice or pasta with a little chicken or white fish.

If they show signs of severe poisoning such as decohere, vomiting or cramps, you need to get them to the vets for advice immediately.


Any dogs, especially young ones, will get themselves into trouble and often suffer small cuts and abrasions. Most of these will be simple cuts and grazes, which can be treated at home. However, if it is a deep cut, then it should be assessed by a vet as it may need stitches.

Try and keep your dog calm and quiet. Clean the wound, if possible, with clean water (a teaspoon of salt to a pint of water)to the wound and cover it with a bandage. If the blood comes through the dressing, do NOT remove it but add another dressing on top. At this point, I was told if blood comes through the second dressing, start again as it is probably not on correctly.

If you need to go to the vet, you will need to call someone to help carry your dog.

It may be necessary to use an Elizabethan collar, or a buster collar may be necessary to give it its correct name so the dog cannot try and chew the bandage off and open up the wound. In certain cases, you may need a bodysuit.


It is important to keep an eye on the wound to ensure that infection does not set in. If the wound does get infected, then make an appointment with your vet.

You may wish to consider some kind of Elizabethan collar to prevent them from licking and biting the wound.

Whilst the cut is healing. It is generally recommended that only gentle on lead exercise be given so that t the injury can heal and help prevent further damage.

Finally, if the wound is on the paw, then consider dog booties or an old sock to protect the bandage.


Whilst not quite as common, dogs like humans can get sunburn, especially dogs with pink skin, as they are at a higher risk.

As with humans, sunburn can increase the risk of developing skin cancer if they get sunburnt. Therefore, it is recommended to use pet-specific sun cream on any exposed areas of the skin to prevent sunburn and ideally walk them early or later in the day when the sun is not so strong in nice cool shady spots.

Read our post on dogs and sunburn

Wasps, ants and other insect bites

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Like humans’ dogs can get very itchy and start biting and scratching and make themself sore from wasps, ants and mosquitoes. Fortunately, they rarely make the dog ill/  However, as with humans, some dogs (and other animals) can be very sensitive or have some kind of reaction to insects, especially wasps/  The other danger to look out for is the number of bites or stings. After even more bites or stings, the chances are more poison is injected and the greater the risk of a more severe reaction. Some signs of a severe reaction, also known as an anaphylactic shock, include: Inflation of the stung/bitten area, hives, itching, panting, vomiting and diarrhoea are further signs of an allergic reaction and can be fatal. Please seek prompt veterinary advice if your dog shows any of these signs or collapses.

Should you be unlucky and your dog is stung, apply a cold compress by holding a cold, wet cloth or ice cubes wrapped in a damp cloth against the skin to reduce the welling. If it is a wasp sting, then a vinegar solution will also help, and milk helps with many insect bites.

Please note that if it is a multiple sting injury on the nose or near the mouth, contact the vet for immediate advice.

if you are unsure if you need a Vet, then Vetfone is a good starting point for checking out summer  dangers for dogs

It is important to keep dogs cool in summer, and here at Finchley dog walker, during Hot or cold weather, we will bring our extreme weather policy in

Read our Spring  , Autumn and winter guide. Along with summer days out with your dog