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 thing, and dart-like grass seeds. Then, of course, 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 get in touch with me.
Blue-green algae can be found in lakes, streams, and seas and is a fairly 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
Alas, our four-legged friends have a great ability to smell out food (over 300 million receptors in the nose and 40 ties better at processing compared to the human that has about 6 million). Once they have sniffed them out, they will try and raid the leftovers without a shadow of a doubt. It is important to make sure that both you and your friends dispose of leftovers carefully, especially bones as if they are hewed, and splinter 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.
If your dog swallows foreign objects or shows any signs of discomfort or abdominal pain, then please get in touch with your vet straight away.
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 Frenchie’s 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 cant 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 any time by the water, I would always recommend a doggy buoyancy aid to make it easier for the dog to swim and easier to pull them out as they generally have a rescue handle.
To help a dog that has aspirated water, a quick response is needed. For small dogs, hold them vertically, with their head pointing down towards the floor, to enable water to drain out by gravity. For larger dogs, place them on one side, ideally on a downhill slope with their head and neck lower than their trunk so that 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 make sure you know where your dog is, and you have a close eye on hi
- Here is our article on water safety tips
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 it is important that you consult your vet as soon as possible Further 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 hoy 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 disease, including Lyme Disease, 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.
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. It is important they don’t 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 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
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. If your dog shows any of these signs or collapses, then please seek prompt veterinary advice.
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 if it is a multiple sting injury or on the nose or near the mouth, then 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