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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Safety

Most of us know the safety rules for caring for our pets, but it doesn't hurt to review them,
especially in the summer when so many dangers are present.

First and most important, NEVER leave an animal in a closed vehicle in hot weather. The temperatures in a closed car can climb very quickly and the animal's body can't cool itself fast enough to keep up. Even leaving the motor and air conditioning running is dangerous. While you're enjoying a cool lunch, the engine can quit and the animal will die in minutes.

Be sure your pet has plenty of fresh drinking water. Dogs have been known to overturn their bowls and spill the contents. Be sure to check frequently to make sure there is clean, cool water available.

A handy item for dogs that have to be outside during the hottest times of the day or for dogs that work outside is one of the bandanas that cool. They are specially treated and when soaked in cool water, they stay cool when tied around the pet's neck. There are also dog blankets and dog beds that stay cool after being soaked or filled with water. These are especially good for dogs with flat faces who have trouble breathing in hot weather.

Some dogs with light colored hair or hairless types of dogs, or even dogs with short haircuts can get sunburned. This is also a problem with dogs who have light colored noses or stand up ears. If you're taking Fido to the beach on your vacation, but Fido is normally an indoor dog from a northern area, you might want to consider a doggy sunscreen. A little on the ears and nose can prevent a lot of pain and some nasty vet bills.

Here are a couple of examples. I've used Ice on Ice which is also a conditioner and detangler. Both these products are available at

At Yvonne's blog she has written about the importance of using life jackets on your dogs if you're going boating. Not all dogs are good swimmers and some can barely swim at
all. Don't let a fun afternoon on the boat turn into a disaster if Fluffy falls overboard. A life jacket can keep your dog afloat until you can get to her and they have handles on the back to help lift her back on board.

Dogs, as we know, love to eat. Some will eat things that aren't good for them, and some will eat things that can be deadly. We all know that chocolate can be toxic for dogs.

Most of us know that grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts can also be toxic for some dogs.

Did you know that any products sweetened with xylitol can be extremely deadly to dogs? This is often used in chewing gum. One stick can kill a dog. If you have dogs like mine that like to go thru your purse or the purses of you guests, be sure that you protect them from finding chewing gum that kills.

Other foods to be careful with are alcoholic beverages, avocado, coffee, onions and yeast dough.
If you suspect your dog may have been poisoned contact your vet or call one of the poison control centers.

There are plants that bloom in the summer that can also be deadly if eaten by the family dog. For a list of poisonous plants check either the ASPCA or Dogpack.
Who would ever suspect the dainty little Lily-Of -The-Valley of being poisonous? It is. It's a good idea to check the list before you plant your flower garden in the spring. If your dogs are like mine they take quite an interest in whatever is growing in the garden.

One thing to watch for in all seasons is anti-freeze. Make sure your car isn't leaking it and watch in areas where you walk your dog that other cars haven't leaked it on the ground. It tastes sweet to dogs and cats and they like the taste. Only a very little bit can kill an animal quickly. The best way to prevent the problem is to keep our eyes open.

Be sure you have a first aid kit stocked and easily accessible. On another post we'll go thru the items that should be in your kit. Memorize your vet's phone number and keep an emergency vet's number on the fridge.

By taking a few easy precautions you and your pet can enjoy a safe and happy summer together.


  1. A very good post.

    My car heats up like an onion and it has hit 120 to 130 degrees while in the sunlight. Suffice to say, no matter what the season, Marge NEVER stays alone in the car.

  2. Great post! We're lucky in that it never gets really hot on our island, but we still play it safe by only taking the dogs out in the morning and late evening. That cooling bandanna looks really nifty and I'm considering buying one for Hero and Tagpi.

    Now that Tagpi is in the house we have to be extra careful about food lying around. Hero is hardly interested in his own food so we don't worry about him, but Tagpi is a beggar and an opportunistic eater, eating whatever he finds on the floor or whatever he can steal. Our friends have a lot of young children and in the past have tried to feed the dogs chocolate. On other occasions people have also tried to feed the dogs grapes and macadamia nuts. Of course, Hero will have none of it (he won't take food from anyone outside the family), but for Tagpi we had to pry open his jaws and reach in before he swallowed. It really helps to educate people who come into your home who aren't very familiar with dogs. We now have a list of bad foods on the fridge and keep a close watch on the dogs, particularly on Tagpi.

  3. Great post. I didn't know about Lily of the Valley, and now have to scrap the idea of having some at my house.

  4. Thanks sue! What a helpful post. I didn't know onions were bad for dogs (not that i've ever given them onions). Those cool bandannas sound like something I could use ... but i doubt it'll last very long ... knowin the dogs. If they can chew through plastic lampshade collar, they can chew through anything!! :P


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