Summer is just around the corner! As the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day weekend is typically the first of many outdoor events and get-togethers. It kicks off longer days in the sun and warmer temperatures to frolic in. Time to start thinking about how your dog fits into your summer scene!
OUTDOOR FOOD SAFETY
Fire pits for roasting marshmallows, barbecues, and grills for summer eats… an open flame (especially one with delicious smells wafting from it) can spell serious disaster for your pup. Getting too close to an outdoor fire could result in burns and skin irritation, or even eye trauma should too much smoke get in your dog’s eyes. Keep your dog inside, or teach your dog to steer clear when you are cooking outside. You can also use pet gates to keep him at a safe distance.
The National Fire Prevention Association advises that the fat and grease that builds up below the grill should be trapped and removed or cleaned regularly. Too much grilled fat drippings could make your dog significantly sick. The same is true should he wind up eating foods that are dangerous for him (like cooked meat bones or corn on the cob). Some dogs have even ingested grilling tools like skewers, or have choked on charcoal fluid or aluminum foil.
Well-intending guests at your outdoor party might feed your dog without you knowing, and not everyone knows what dogs can’t eat. There are a whole host of bbq-friendly foods that are bad for your dog. Eggs, avocado, grapes, peaches, alcohol, and chocolate are some of the foods that can be hazardous or even deadly. Know the number to the closest emergency veterinary clinic, and have the ASPCA’s Poison Control number on your cell phone.
“Well-intending guests at your outdoor party might feed your dog without you knowing, and not everyone knows what dogs can’t eat.”
WATER AND HEAT SAFETY
Many people assume that all dogs are natural swimmers, but this isn’t true. Any dog can tire or become overwhelmed in water and drown as quickly as a person can. If you go to the beach, a lake, or plan to boat this summer with your dog, invest in a dog life preserver. It should have a handle so you can grab hold of your dog if necessary, a D-ring that will attach to your dog’s leash, and a bright, reflective color. And don’t let your dog drink ocean water – the salt could make him sick.
Another common myth is that your dog’s coat protects him from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But the truth is a dog can suffer from sunburn or heatstroke in just 30 minutes in direct sunlight. Short-haired and light-haired breeds are especially prone to burning, but any dogs’ nose, ears, or belly is susceptible. Consider buying a dog-specific sunscreen and keep your dog in a shady, cooler spot. Monitor his breathing and heart rate and ensure he drinks a lot of water while you are out together in hot weather.
Summertime is the best time for hanging out with your favorite four-legged friend! Just make sure you keep his best interests – and safety – in mind. Happy Summer!