Here comes the sun
April promised long hot summer days with BBQ’s and paddling pools but May has temporarily put a halt to those thoughts. Still, the optimist in me says summer will return and although we all enjoy warm, hazy days the summer can pose problems and even dangers to our pets.
We’ve all seen the poster, ‘Dogs die in hot cars’ but this is unfortunately very true. Dogs can over heat even in relatively mild conditions when shut in a car. No one does this on purpose but it is very easy for dogs to sneak into cars and curl up asleep on the back seat unnoticed and the consequences can be fatal.
Brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers have shorter noses and although they appear cute, this can cause significant health problems and a poor ability to tolerate heat. These dogs have narrowed tracheas and overlong soft palates reducing the amount of air they can move across their upper airways. Coupling this with heat and an inability to pant effectively, heat can cause these animals to develop respiratory distress very quickly. Keep these breeds cool and avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day.
Another danger dog owners do not consider is cliffs. There are numerous clifftop walks along our Jurassic coastline. It is inconceivable to most of us that dogs do not see these dangers but I have known dogs literally leap off cliffs. Sadly, every Bank holiday this seems to happen with frequently the most severe consequences. My sympathies go out to anyone who has found themselves in this position, please keep your dogs on leads in these areas.
Insects become more prevalent with warmer temperatures. Dogs and cats find Bee and Wasp stings painful too, but insect stings and spider bites can trigger off severe hypersensitivity reactions in the skin. True anaphylactic reactions are thankfully rare. Discourage dogs and cats from playing with insects and pick up windfall fruit before it rots and attracts wasps and dogs together!
When I was a child our collie would stand up on her back legs, front feet on the BBQ, snapping at sparks and flames, she escaped with just singed whiskers but hot coals and burns are a real risk. It is surprising what dogs will attempt to eat, how fast they can eat and what they are actually capable of swallowing; from whole pork ribs and corn on the cob to skewers! I have removed all of these from dogs’ stomachs or intestines, including a six inch wooden skewer that was poking out through the skin!
Enjoy your summer whether you’re home or away but remember a few pet precautions can make it a summer to remember for all the right reasons.
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