How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Summertime Threats

Summer is the perfect time to spend more time outdoors with your best four-legged friend. But you should take special care to ensure your dog doesn’t fall victim to the many perils that accompany the warmer months.

Overheating Dangers

Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. Instead, they pant to cool off and excessive panting can quickly lead to dehydration.

Regardless of whether your dog spends most of his/her time indoors or outdoors, he/she should always have access to plenty of fresh water-especially during the summer months.

Your dog should also have access to shade if spending time outdoors on hot summer days.

Despite the horror stories we’ve all heard over the years, some people still leave their pets unattended in their vehicles during the sweltering summer months. The inside of a vehicle can heat up quickly, especially if it’s parked in direct sunlight. And leaving a couple of windows cracked an inch or two doesn’t provide enough ventilation to ensure your pet’s safety!

Even on relatively mild days, the temperature inside a parked car can reach dangerously high levels. If the ambient outdoor temperature is 70 degrees, the inside of a parked car can climb to over 00 degrees in as little as 30 minutes.

Pavement Can Be Hard on Paws

As the mercury rises, sidewalks and walking trails can become hazardous surfaces for your dog to walk on. While canine paws are designed to withstand the worst of what nature can dish out, walking on concrete or asphalt that’s been baking all day in searing sunlight and triple-digit heat can be painful and even dangerous to your dog’s health.

To prevent discomfort and even blistering from walking on overheated concrete or asphalt, you should walk your pet in the early morning or evening. If possible, it’s usually best to keep to unpaved rails when walking your dog, but be mindful of grass burrs, thorny vines, and sharp rocks that can cut or become impaled in your dog’s paws.

Garden Dangers for Dogs

A surprising number of common garden plants can also be harmful or even toxic to pets. These include daffodils, azaleas, carnations, some varieties of holly, honeysuckle, and wisteria. And the threat isn’t confined to ornamental plants. Some vegetable plants can also be harmful to pets.

Chemicals used to control weeds and plant diseases can present serious health risks to dogs. And even organic compost and mulch can breed mold that can be toxic to animals.

So, does this mean you have to choose between having a beautiful garden or a healthy pet? Thankfully the answer is no. But you should be especially mindful of your dog’s behavior when she’s outdoors. Keep her from digging in areas where chemicals agents have been used on vegetation and prevent her from chewing on or ingesting plants that are known to be harmful to pets.

Not that confident in your botany skills? No problem. The ASPCA website features separate lists of plants that are toxic to dogs and plants that are toxic to cats.

If you suspect that your dog may have ingested toxic plants or garden chemical, you should contact your local veterinarian for immediately.

Lawn Treatments

Most homeowners take great pride in having a lush, weed-free lawn. and in many cases that means summertime applications of fertilizers, weed killers, pesticides, insecticides, and/or fungicide even toxic to dogs. When using chemical agents to treat your lawn, be sure to read and obey all manufacturer’s safety guidelines. In most cases, this includes preventing pets and children from coming into contact with treated areas for hours or even days after application depending on the chemical compound.

Pesticides and Rodent Poisons

Summer is also the time when unwanted pests thrive. If you use chemical insecticides and poisons to keep your home and lawn free of pests, you could also inadvertently be putting your dog’ health at risk.

Chemical insecticides and rodent poisons should be used judiciously, and you should always make sure that they are applied or placed where they are inaccessible to your pet.

Unfortunately, even your best efforts to keep your dog from being exposed to                ese toxins can prove futile. If exposed to rainfall or a lawn sprinkler, trace amounts of rodent poisons and insecticides can accumulate in puddles where a thirsty dog can ingest them. Chemical runoff can also be absorbed through your dog’s skin and when your pet licks his paws and fur.

If You Suspect Your Dog Has Been Poisoned

Signs that your dog may have been poisoned include:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Blood in the stool
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Inability to urinate

If you suspect your dog has ingested any type of toxic organic or chemical matter, you should immediately call your local veterinarian for help.

DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

If a suspected poisoning happens when your vet is unavailable, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


About Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital

Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital (BPAH) is a General Practice Veterinary provider in Richardson, Texas. As a family­owned and -operated veterinary hospital, BPAH treats you and your pets with the same care and consideration we bestow upon our own family pets. The expert veterinarians and skilled nursing staff at BPAH focus on your pet’s every need, from preventative medicine to medicine to disease management and more.

Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital serves the northeast Dallas suburban area including Garland, Richardson, Plano, Murphy, Wylie, and Mesquite.

This information is not a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice. P or to starting any new treatment or questions regarding an animal’s medical condition, always seek the advice of your veterinarian.