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As Summer Ends, Don’t Overlook These Potential Pet Dangers

Some pet dangers are obvious. Some take a bit of thought.
Summer is rapidly coming to an end and families with pets are trying hard to get in some traditional summer fun before school, cooler weather and other seasonal changes begin.

That’s great, but keep in mind that potential pet threats still abound. As usual, they’re not constant, which is why a few unlucky pets and their owners forget them and end up with problems, or even a tragedy. Whether you are traveling with a dog or cat, or just letting them enjoy the backyard, these are some things to keep in mind.

Creepy Crawly, Buzzing and Biting

One that also seems to be growing in frequency and seriousness involves ticks.

If you feel like ticks have been in the news a lot lately, you’re right. new tick-borne illnesses are creeping in to several parts of the country. Ticks may also be extending their range and year-round activity as a result of weather changes. Either way, if you are in the woods or even just in the backyard where ticks can occur, check your pet immediately and thoroughly upon returning. You may also want to look for flea collars or applications that cover ticks as well as fleas and note that our first aid kits include tweezers that are perfect for removing ticks. If you’re in an area that’s especially tick prone or will visit one, you might also check with your vet in advance about tick medication. Be sure to use only medications that are suitable for your particular pet.

Bees, even snakes and other outdoor dangers are worth keeping in mind as well. Bee stings are especially common, and tweezers are another useful tool for removing stingers, which can remain in the wound and cause additional problems.

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Although you may be getting used to the heat, and your pet may be as well, the dangers from heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke or dehydration remain serious. Always make sure your pets have access to water and don’t forget potential problems such as a bowl of water drying in the summer sun, or a cat outside on hot summer nights not being able to find water.

On the other hand, don’t go too far the other way. Despite what you may see on Facebook or YouTube, many pets don’t like, or are even terrified of water. Others may simply be unable to swim or swim well enough to stay afloat. Throwing a cat, dog, rabbit or other pet into a pool, pond or lake may not be a good idea. Oceans, fast rivers (or very cold rivers) have dangers that may not be evident but can be very serious.

Be Thoughtful, Not Thoughtless

One of the worst examples this writer has observed involved a small dog taken on a river canoe float. For some reason, the owner thought it was great sport to throw the dog in and let it try to swim along with the canoe. The dog actually did fairly well, but the owner forgot – along with common sense and compassion – that the river was largely spring fed and the water averaged just above 55°, cold enough to make hypothermia a real possibility.

The number one danger in terms of potential fatality involves something you see nearly every day: your car. You’ve probably heard warnings about how hot an enclosed car can get in just minutes, even in relatively cool weather, but pets still die from those easily avoidable tragedies.

Clearly every pet danger cannot be listed or even anticipated, but a little common sense and a moment of thought can go a long way. You’ll not only ensure your pet is safe and healthy, you’ll both enjoy the rest of your summer more.