Summer is a great time of year, with the increased warmth and daylight hours encouraging everyone to get outside more, including dogs. We often want to take our furry friends on summertime adventures, but there are some common issues that everyone should be aware of before heading out. Learning about these possible problems can help to prevent them and avoid unexpected veterinary trips.
Unfortunately, one of the most frequent problems we see is dogs riding loose in the back of pickup trucks. You might think that your dog is used to riding in the box of the truck and that it has never been an issue before, but all it takes is one sudden stop or an unexpected swerve and the dog can be thrown from the vehicle. Most of these traumatic events result in broken bones. Having your dog properly restrained in the box of the truck can prevent these unnecessary injuries from occurring. One safe option is to tie the dog with a secure leash to the front of the box centrally (in the middle) so that they cannot reach the side edges. Another option is having a dog crate secured in the box of the truck (tethers or bungee cords can work well to secure the crate). One of the safest ways to go on a road trip with your dog is having them ride inside the vehicle with you, and using a dog seatbelt to keep them secure from unexpected jolts.
Going on a boating adventure is another fun way to spend the summer days. Most dogs can swim, but they have individual fitness and endurance levels. Many dogs can become too tired to keep swimming, can be washed under by a wave, or can be unseated from a boat unexpectedly. If you’re going to bring your dog with you boating, it’s a great idea to consider using a dog lifejacket for your canine companion. It is important to do research on the product you choose as they are of varying quality.
It can be tempting to leave your dog inside your vehicle if you think that you’re just running into the store quickly, but remember that it is much hotter inside a vehicle than it is outside. Heat stroke is another summertime problem, and the most common way it happens is by leaving your dog in a vehicle on a hot sunny day. Even 10 minutes in a hot car can result in heat stroke. Keeping the air conditioning running is the most certain way to avoid issues. Symptoms of heat stroke can include excessive panting, excessive drooling, and can result in a coma and death if it progresses too far. If heat stroke does occur, be sure to remove the dog from the hot environment and contact a veterinarian right away.
Summer is an excellent time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, but keeping your pet’s safety in mind is very important. Summer hazards are often easy to prevent, and doing so allows both you and your dog to enjoy the sunshine.
Dr. Sydney Routley is a veterinarian with the North Peace Vet Clinic.