Sunday, June 13, 2021


Summer Hazards

May 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Dog Health and Nutrition

Summer is a great time to be outdoors with your dog, but there are several hazards you’ll need to address to keep your dog safe while he or she enjoys the lovely weather. Whether you garden or just barely keep your lawn mowed, whether you plan on vacationing near or far, and whether summer means rest and relaxation or intense activity, you’ll want to check out our tips for keeping your dog safe all summer long.

In the yard

If you garden, you know how annoying it is when your dog gets into the garden and begins eating all of the fruits of your labor. However, did you know that even the mulch you choose has implications for your dog? Cocoa mulch is filled with the same ingredients that make chocolate toxic to dogs – theobromine and caffeine. If you plan on using cocoa mulch rather than red, black, or wood-colored mulch, make sure you place it in areas where your dog cannot get to it. For example, if you keep your dog fenced in the back yard, you might place this mulch around your front flower beds, bushes, and trees, rather than in your backyard gardens.

Summer time with your dog

If your idea of gardening involves making sure the grass stays below waist level, be sure to plan ahead before you mow. Ideally, your dog should be inside the house while the mower is running. However, if that isn’t possible, you’ll need to be cognizant of the dangers of the lawn mower. Aside from the sharp blades that can literally cut off your dog’s feet if he or she gets too close, the mower is prone to throwing out stones and other debris it picks up from the yard. Clean up any visible debris before you start mowing to prevent pelting your dog with things that might injure him or her.

Don’t forget that the weed whacker can also injure your dog. That string swings around at a very high rate of speed, and it can rip right through your dog’s nose when he or she checks out what’s making that odd noise.

If you are going to fertilize your lawn, try to do it in the evening when rain is expected overnight. This allows the fertilizer to soak into the ground and removes it from the leaves of grass so it won’t get on your dog’s feet where he or she can lick it off. If you have to fertilize during the day or when no rain is immediately expected, try barricading them to a specific area where you won’t put any fertilizer until you can water the poisons into the ground. Then, move them to the safe area while you work on the area where you had them put up.

On vacation

If you will be traveling with your dog, whether you’re going across town or across the country, be sure to provide for your dog’s safety. First and foremost, make sure the dog is up to date on shots and is wearing an identification tag that includes your cell phone number so you can be reached when you are away from home.

If you are traveling by car, consider how you will secure your dog for the trip. The best and most comfortable way to transport a dog is in a crate in most cases. This keeps the dog in one spot so you don’t have fur and slobber on all the seats, and it keeps the dog out of your lap where he or she may divert your attention from the important task of driving. If you can’t fit a crate in your car or choose not to use one, your dog should be confined by means of a seatbelt or harness. Many different types of devices can be used to attach your dog to his or her seat so there is no wandering around the vehicle.

Be sure to plan for extra stops along the way to allow the dog to stretch his or her legs and use the bathroom. Remember that the dog can’t ask for pit stops the way your spouse and kids do. Carry plenty of fresh water in your car and bring along some of the dog’s normal food so you don’t have to feed the dog burgers. Although the dog might love the change, his or her stomach can easily become upset by this fatty, unfamiliar food.

Before you set out on your trip, take the time to contact your intended hotels or campgrounds to find out any rules or deposits they may have related to pets. Obviously, restaurants won’t let your dog inside unless he or she is an assistance dog, so you will need to have a plan for how to handle mealtimes. Never, never, never leave a dog in the car during the summer. The interior temperature can reach fatal levels in a matter of just minutes, even with the windows cracked.

If you decide to leave your dog at home, carefully consider the type of care you will schedule. You might leave the dog with a relative or friend, have a pet sitter come into your home, or drop the dog off at a boarding kennel. Read about the pros and cons of each of these approaches in a previous vacation article from Straight Poop.

In the home

You may not think about the hazards for your dog inside your home very often, but the changing seasons provide an opportunity for you to do a quick tour of your home to make sure there is nothing that can injure your dog or cause him or her to become ill.

Common problems include poisons such as the cleaning chemicals you may be using as you tackle summer home improvement projects. I don’t know why dogs think they have to help with the painting, but they always do! Any paint they get on their fur may poison them if they decide to lick it off. The turpentine you might use to clean up after painting can make them sick as well.

Other problems include certain plants you may keep indoors. According to the ASPCA’s poison control center, lilies, marijuana, sago palm, tulip bulbs, azalea, rhododendrons, oleander, castor beans, cyclamen, Yew, chrysanthemums, and amaryllis are all poisonous to dogs.

If you are bringing home a new puppy this summer, check for possible chewing hazards like electrical cords.

At play

As the weather turns warmer, you will likely be spending a lot more time outdoors, whether you sleep in the hammock or engage in activities like roller blading or dog sports. If you and your dog will be leaving the safety of your own yard, make sure to inspect your dog’s leash and collar for any tears or punctures that might cause the restraint to fail.

Refresh your dog’s memory about basic obedience so he or she will be sure to come when called and won’t jump up on people you encounter while you are out and about.

Before any activity, be sure to allow your dog to warm up his or her muscles the same as you do to prevent muscle strains and sprains. For example, walk a few blocks before you begin your jog.

Following these few simple precautions will allow you and your dog to have a safe and enjoyable summer enjoying all of the things life offers inside and out of your home.

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