Crickets begin their magical tune.. ladybugs jig for the joy of June…
Dragonflies dance as they dart by… their whirring wings sing a lullaby…
Bumblebees buzz a melody sweet… caterpillars tap their many feet…
The dog’s happy heart beats like a drummer…as June brings on the songs of summer.
Crickets, ladybugs, dragonflies, bumblebees, caterpillars, and happy dogs are all songs of summer, but naturally nothing can be all good….there are always some unpleasant things to balance out the awesomeness…with the songs also come some summer hazards for your four-footed friends.
Probably the most harmful aspect about summer is the rising temperatures, which means that pets may struggle to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion. Do NOT leave your pet outside in the heat, without adequate shade and fresh water…provide a cool place indoors during extremely hot weather, and NEVER leave him in the car….not even for “a couple minutes while you run in to a store.” NEVER, EVER! To avoid heat stroke, exercise your dog in the cooler parts of the day and for short periods of time.
Skin issues related to allergens, bugs, and plants seem to escalate in warm weather. For many pets, the change in temperature, moisture, and air pressure can cause their skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms that accompany skin irritations or infections. Watch for any abnormal chewing, biting, or scratching and licking their paws or other parts of their body. If you see an irritated area, or see bald spots, it is likely that there is some kind of skin problem, and you may need to seek advice from your vet.
For some reason, raisin and grape related emergencies are more likely to occur in the summer, and these fruits are extremely toxic to dogs (and cats), so keep them out of reach to your pets. Be aware that there are many things that have grapes in them that you might not even think about, like fruit salads, smoothies, dips, trail mixes, cereals, cookies, snack bars, and many other desserts. Just because you don’t have a box of raisins or a cluster of grapes doesn’t mean that you are safe.
In addition to the usual flea and tick protection that your pet needs, there are many other creepy crawlies willing and able to sting or bite your pet. Studies show that pets are twice as likely to be a victim of a sting or bug bite in the summer, and while they are usually just uncomfortable and relatively harmless, sometimes they require an emergency trip to the vet for needed treatment. Symptoms to watch for are difficulty breathing, nausea, disorientation, lethargy, or other kind of unusual behavior.
Backyard barbeques often include good old corn on the cob, and if a pet somehow ingests corn cob material, it can cause serious health problems. Corn cobs can also be found in back yards in farming areas…the squirrels carry ears of corn into the yard, and leave the cobs. Dogs seem to like to chew on corn cobs, and they are extremely dangerous because they are completely indigestible. Sometimes the cob will pass through and be pooped out, but if a piece of corn cob gets lodged in the intestine, stomach, or colon, there may be a bowel obstruction that will need vet treatment. It is important that you dispose of all corn cobs in a covered garbage can that your pet cannot get into. Resist sharing picnic or barbeque leftovers, because pets do not have the necessary enzymes to digest many of the high fat foods that are associated with these festivities. Charcoal and lighter fluid used to barbeque also pose a threat, as ingesting ash or charcoal can result in serious stomach irritation.
Water is often a major part of summer family activities, and pets can drown in lakes and pools just like people. Be on the lookout for stagnant pools of water, especially those with blue-green algae, which are very dangerous. Don’t allow your pet near stagnant water or algae, and make sure he doesn’t drink from these water sources.
With a few extra precautions, summertime will be filled with the songs of summer… and you will have a safe and happy pet.