Summer Pet Hazards

Summertime is the season for snakes, bees, home improvement projects, and more.  But more importantly, the heat! The doctors and staff at Yakima Pet Emergency Service want to remind you that many of these things can bring potential harm to your pets. Here are some of the things that you can watch for during the summer season.

10 Tips to Keep Pets Safe

  1. Dogs Can't Beat The Heat. This is the most important tip to keeping your pet safe in the summer months. It can take a car as little as five minutes to become fatally hot for a dog to sit in, even if it is parked in the shade with the windows down. The rule of thumb is to never leave your dog in a car when it is over 75 degrees outside.  Make sure your pet has adequate shade and plenty of fresh water available if they are outdoors. Some dogs are more at risk for complications from heat stroke than others (elderly pets, brachycephalic breeds, overweight pets) . Please see our blog, Heat Stroke, for more information.   

  2. Asphalt Scalding.When the sun is beating down on the asphalt it can make the sidewalks and roads very hot. If the temperature outside is 77 degrees, the asphalt in direct sun can reach 125 degrees, and pet's paws can be scalded within 60 seconds. To test the safety of the surface you plan to walk on, place the palm of your hand on the surface and hold it there for a minimum of 7 seconds. If you can't , than your pet can't either. 

  3. July 4th. During a celebration we tend to gather around in large social gatherings, have lots of food, treats, and on the fourth...fireworks. Not all human food is safe for our pets and no human food is good in large amounts. It is best to keep treats, food, packages, etc. picked up and out of reach of our pets. Fireworks can cause emotional and physical harm to your pets. Some dogs may run off and not stop running until someone stops them, others may chew foreign objects, hide or jump on unsafe objects. To help keep them safe emotionally and physically, keep them in an enclosed area. Some dogs do well in a dark room with music playing or action movies on the television.

  4. Bee Stings. Just like their owners, dogs can have various reactions to bee stings. They vary from a mild redness to anaphylactic shock. The type of bee and how many times your pet has been stung can factor into the body's response. It is important to keep the population of bees around the home to a minimum. If your pet has hives, swelling on the face or swelling that is spreading, coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, it is recommended to seek veterinary help as soon as possible. Do not try to treat at home, when the symptoms are as listed above, at home treatment tends to be inadequate and veterinary care is needed to stop the reaction.

  5. Rattlesnakes. Snakes pose a large threat to our pets here in the Yakima Valley. There are 20 different species of venomous snakes in North America, the Western Rattlesnake is very common in Yakima County and can be fatal to your dog if they are bitten. A rattlesnake can strike the distance of more than half their body length, which is 18 inches to 4 feet by maturity. Be careful and watchful outdoors, especially in areas of sagebrush or canyon land.  Rattlesnakes don't always warn you first with a rattle of their tail.

  6. Tick, Tick. Ticks can be harmful to your pets. It is important to speak to your veterinarian about the appropriate flea and tick treatment plan for your pet, as many over the counter products available can be toxic to pets. Tick and flea control can keep them safe from possible diseases these pests can transfer to your pet and even to you.  Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Periodic tick Paralysis and other diseases are a few that can be caused or transferred by ticks. 

  7. Hit By Car.  Keeping your pet safe within their own yard with a fence or tether, can prevent them from roaming and getting hit by a car. When driving keep an eye out for pets that are roaming, with warmer weather pets may travel more than in the winter months.

  8. Roaming Dogs.  In the spring and summer, dogs tend to roam even more than in the winter months.  This is particularly true of pet's who are not spayed or neutered.  This leads to high risks of dog attacks or fight injury. Keeping your own pet on a leash or secured in a fenced area can help eliminate the risk of a dog fight. 

  9. Maggots. These little creatures love the heat. Fly eggs hatch within 24 hours in warm weather, into larvae that feeds on the host for three to five days. A female fly can lay her eggs in batches of 75-150!  Cats and dogs that are not well groomed, are very young, have wounds, or elderly pet's who are defecating/urinating on themselves, are at greatest risk to having flystrike. Keep your pets groomed, clean, and if needed, keep them out of the heat away from environments where flies may land and lay eggs. 

  10. Home Improvement.  As the weather begins to clear up and we begin to remodel our homes, paint, or do other renovations pet's can gain access to these chemicals.  Paints, solvents, and other material can be toxic to our pets, while others such as nails, power tools, staples, etc. can pose physical harm to our pets. Keep these items picked up and out of reach of your canine and feline friends.