By Veterinarian Kate Kuzminski, GDB’s Medical Director
As we welcome back warm weather and begin to see extremely high ambient temperatures in multiple states, it is important to keep summer hazards in mind in order to keep the dogs in your life safe. Here are some tips for summer safety:
- Plan your travel activities for cooler parts of the day. Before 10 am and after 6 pm is a better choice than traveling at noon. Dogs can get dehydrated quickly in hot and humid weather so provide regular rest breaks. Take a collapsible water bowl with you and offer fresh water often. Remember that older dogs may tire easily in warmer weather and may need extra time to cool off and rest.
- Hot concrete, asphalt, and even sand can burn your dog’s feet. On a sunny 77 F day, asphalt can reach 125 F. This can jump to 143 F in 87 F weather. If the surface is too hot for the palm of your hand for 5 seconds, then it is also too hot for your dog’s feet. If you need to travel, there are many great booties that will protect your dog’s feet in hot weather.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a car when temperatures rise above 70F. Even when a car is parked in the shade and the windows are cracked slightly open, the temperature within a car can reach intolerable and deadly temperatures for a dog.
- If your dog does get overheated, move into a shaded or air-conditioned area. Apply cold damp towels to your dog’s head, neck, and chest and soak the paws in cool (not cold) water. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water. If panting excessively, weak, drooling, or having vomiting or bloody diarrhea, your dog may have heat stroke. If your dog is showing these signs, transport your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Late summer and early fall is prime time for the development of seriously toxic blue-green algae. This often appears as a thick scum on the surface of stagnant water. Algal blooms often produce an attractive odor to dogs so they often want to play in this water and can ingest the algae. Clinical signs such as vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and paralysis develop rapidly after exposure and require emergency veterinary treatment. Keep your dog away from stagnant water at this time of year!
- Don’t leave your dog unattended around a swimming pool. Not all Retrievers know how to swim! While the amount of chlorine in swimming pool water may not necessarily cause issues if your dog drinks it from time to time, the chlorine pool tablets may be a different story. Keep all pool chemicals in a safe place where there is no risk your dog will ingest them.
Learn how you can support GDB's veterinary team to continue providing world-class care to all of the dogs in our programs, visit Support GDB today.