Before I knew it, our dog was in the car this morning as we were loading up kids to drop off at camp. She loves to ride in the car, but it limits what errands I can run while out and about, so I usually leave her home. But, my youngest gave me puppy-dog eyes, so I reluctantly agreed to let her ride along. When we got to camp, my husband hopped out of the car to walk my son in, not thinking to roll down the windows. I looked at him in shock. He said, “We’ll just be in there a few minutes.” I guess I know too much, because I climbed back in and cracked all the windows before leaving her, even though it would be just a few minutes.
This all got me thinking about the many dangers that face our pets as we barrel headfirst into the hot summer months. One of the hardest parts about being a pet mom or dad is that our pets cannot tell us when they are uncomfortable, sick, or hurt. We have to be cognizant of situations that may not be safe or in their best interest, at all times. Below you can read about five summer hazards and how to best protect your pets.
Overheating in a Hot Car
Imagine my surprise when I read research that suggests cars with windows cracked still can reach the same temperature as cars with closed windows! Research conducted and published in the journal, Pediatrics, concluded, “Leaving the windows opened slightly does not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature attained.” So, in the case of leaving my dog in the car this morning, I really wasn’t helping too much when I cracked the windows. It would have been better for me to leave her at home, in the cool air-conditioned house.
Coolant Dripping from Cars
Another car hazard is coolant--that sweet-smelling liquid that can often leak from underneath a car, leaving a puddle in your garage. Coolant contains ethylene glycol, and it can take as little as 1 tablespoon to cause acute kidney failure in dogs. Dogs aren’t too discerning about what they lap up. If they’re thirsty enough, that puddle may entice them to take a drink. Be aware of drips or switch to an animal-friendly coolant for your car. Know the signs of antifreeze poisoning (staggering, euphoria, excessive thirst, and vomiting) and call your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has gotten into coolant.
Insecticides and Fertilizers
More and more people are hiring companies to do their yard work, and to take care of their weeds and flowers. This means insecticides, fertilizers, and other lawn treatments are often being applied to neighboring yards. Make sure to read the paperwork your lawn service leaves behind with instructions for allowing pets on the grass. Remember to keep your pet away from common areas and neighbors’ yards that may have been treated. Our lawn service has told us that the general rule is after one hour the lawn is safe for pets, so we place a sticky note on the back door with a reminder not to let our pup out until it is safe.
Did you know that just one bite from a mosquito could infect a dog with heartworms? It is important to protect your dog from this dangerous parasite by vaccinating him. You should work with your vet to determine the best routine prevention protocol. PetPartners can bear some of the financial burden of protecting your pet from heartworm disease with their Defender and DefenderPlus plans.
Dogs can ingest worms from contaminated soil and may even absorb them through their skin. Worms are particularly dangerous to puppies. Intestinal parasites can cause serious problems such as failure to gain weight, poor hair coat, vomiting, and even death. Make sure to remove dog feces promptly and never let your dog sniff or get into animal droppings. Deworming is a preventative benefit PetPartners can help with as well!
It is important to be prepared as we head into this season of intense heat, pesky parasites, and lawn/garden treatment plans. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to take good care of your pets and you’ll be ready to survive the dog days of summer!