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Summer Pet Safety 101
By Amber Evans

Summer Pet Safety 101

Summer is just around the corner, and pet owners everywhere are looking for ways to spend these long, beautiful days outside with their fur babies. And while many dogs enjoy spending time outside, Charleston’s infamous summer heat can cause problems if pet parents aren’t careful. Here are some ways to keep your furry loved ones safe this summer season.

Know the signs of heat stress. These include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, and increased heart rate. If in doubt, check the dog’s temperature if possible; anything higher than 104 warrants a trip to your veterinarian.

Spend extra time in the shade, and offer your dog plenty of cool, clean water. If your dog is lethargic, has dry or sticky gums or sunken eyes, check for dehydration by gripping the loose skin at the scruff of your dog’s neck and pulling gently, then releasing it. Normally, it will fall back into shape quickly; when your dog is dehydrated, it will tend to stay bunched up. If you see this, it’s time to take a trip to the vet; it is very unlikely that your dog will drink enough water at home to correct the problem, and if left untreated dehydration can lead to serious health risks.

Never leave your dog in a parked car!

Take extra care with brachycephalic (flat-face) dogs like Boston terriers and pugs. Their short snouts make panting more difficult and less effective.

Keep your dog away from hot asphalt. Not only can the surface burn their paw pads, but being closer to the blacktop means their bodies are absorbing more of the radiated heat.

Do not leave your dog unattended around pools. Not all dogs are good swimmers! Ensure all dogs wear a life jacket while out on a boat.

Speaking of pools, don’t let your dog drink pool water. Chlorine can cause upset stomach and diarrhea in your dog, which increases the danger of dehydration.

Many of our favorite summer party foods are harmful or even poisonous to our dogs. Grapes, alcohol, raisins, chocolate, onions, and any food containing the artificial sweetener xylitol should be carefully avoided. Make sure your guests know not to offer your dog tidbits, and have secure garbage cans available out of your pup’s reach.

Have a safe and happy summer!!

By Amber Evans

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