Dog days

Dog safety in the heat

For many college students, the start of summer means the ability to spend more time with friends and family, as well as pets. However, what most college students do not know is that these sweet summer months can pose a serious threat to pets when not supervised carefully. There are things you can do to prevent accidents from happening, and the first step is knowing what to watch for. 

The first, and perhaps the most obvious cause of summer pet related deaths and injuries is, heat. In an article by the American Humane Society, it’s quoted that on an 85℉ day, in just 10 minutes the internal temperature of a car can reach 102℉. In thirty minutes the internal temperature will reach up to 120℉, at which point the animal inside may suffer from intense internal organ damage or even death. 

In addition to this, it is important to limit dog’s exercise to early in the morning or evening when it is cooler. Watch for signs of heat stroke. Symptoms include: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat and profuse salivation. 

Water safety is another key element in summer safety for dogs. Many dogs, such as labs and retrievers, enjoy swimming and splashing in various bodies of water. Firstly, it’s important to identify safe bodies of water. Toxic algae blooms are an upcoming topic of discussion as summer gets into full swing. Algae blooms contain cyanobacteria which is fatal to dogs. Algae is often blue-green colored, but can also be brown or red in color. The algae thrives in slow moving, stagnant, warm water and occurs in response to an overgrowth of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. Keep your pet leashed around bodies of water, avoid smelly or dirty looking water, and if you believe your pet has come in contact with algae blooms, seek veterinary help immediately. 

Hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication, is when the sodium in the blood is too low. It occurs when dogs consume too much water and is most commonly seen in dogs who love playing in water. Dogs who enjoy “eating” or “biting” at water are at risk of  consuming too much water and developing hyponatremia. In order to avoid water intoxication, be sure to limit water play time for dogs, and always supervise them when in water. Watch for signs of intoxication which include: lethargy, weakness, vomiting and seizures. 

Pets love summer time just as much as their human companions. Which makes it that much more critical to protect them from some of the more un-fun sides of this sunny season. Be sure to always supervise pets during playtime, and watch for abnormalities in behavior that could be a sign of something more serious.