#1: BarbecuesWhat could be more fun on a summer evening than relaxing with friends at a BBQ? However, your dog’s priorities aren’t so much socializing as scavenging. He’s likely to be on high alert for opportunities to raid the grill or scrounge a sausage. This poses more hazards than appear at face value:
- Burns: Gulping down a hot baked potato not only burns the mouth but the gullet (esophagus) which can result in nasty internal burns which scar over and cause long-term problems with swallowing.
- Foreign Bodies: Hastily gobbled foods such as corn cobs, when the swallowed whole can easily form a bowel obstruction. Shoving down a skewer left by mistake on the grass can seriously injure the intestines. These situations can be life-threatening and require emergency surgery to remove.
- Pancreatitis: Burgers and sausages are often high fat and a trigger for pancreatitis in some dogs.
- Tummy Upsets: A smorgasbord of foods that the dog isn't used to usually adds up to an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
#2: Blue-Green AlgaeImagine emerging from a humid wood into a clearing where a shimmering lake beckons. What could be more inviting than a cooling splash in the water? Unfortunately, if that water contains blue-green algae then this could mean a very sick dog indeed. Blooms of blue-green algae are made up of cyanobacteria. These produce a natural toxin which causes liver and/or nerve damage. In a worst-case scenario gulping down water contaminated with blue-green algae can produce convulsions in as a little as 15 minutes. Signs to be alert for include:
- Muscle tremors
- Breathing difficulties
- Blue gums
- Poor coordination
#3: Burnt PawsToo hot to walk on the pavement? If you’re reaching for flip-flops at the beach because the sand is too hot then know the ground is too hot for your dog as well. Likewise, avoid sidewalks that are hot enough to fry an egg on. If you can’t hold your hand on the ground for more than 5 seconds then this is a burn hazard for your dog’s feet. Exercise in the cool of the day and stick to the shade.
#4: CarsNobody ever means to kill their dog by leaving him in a car on a summer’s day… but it still happens. Quite simply it’s all too easy to underestimate just how quickly temperatures climb inside the glass box that is a car. The only safe option is never to leave a dog in a car unattended. Simply don’t take the risk. If the dog can’t go with you into a store then leave him at home.
#5: Heat Exhaustion / Heat StrokeWhen your pet pal wears a fur-onesie and doesn’t sweat, overheating is an all too real possibility. The dog’s coping mechanism is to pant in order to cool off. But those dogs with flat-faces, such as pugs, Frenchies, and bulldogs, already struggle to breathe, which places them at a disadvantage when keeping cool. Signs of heat exhaustion in dogs include:
- Excessive panting
- High body temperature (hot ears, paws, or nose)
- A racing heart (This is easily detected with a PetPace collar)
- Brick red or very pale gums
- Difficulty walking, lethargy
#6: SaltwaterWhen having fun at the beach it’s easy to overlook how salty the sea is. If your dog drinks from the sea he could be in danger of salt toxicity. When excessive amounts of seawater are drunk he may show signs such as:
- Lack of energy