Although there is much ado about our kids going back to school soon, let us not forget that summer is in full swing. Whether you’re hitting the beach, exploring the trails, or just relaxing in your own backyard, enjoying the outdoors with our pets is the perfect way to live life to the fullest. As you and your furry companion are traveling about, be sure to keep an eye on these common hazards that lurk beneath your feet (and paws!) to prevent possibly painful injuries.
Bee on the lookout
Just like humans, our pets can be at risk for bee and wasp stings, or even worse can have severe reactions to them. Curious pups can get too close to bees or wasps (or even step on one), which may result in a painful sting usually around the muzzle, mouth, nose, face, or paws.
Signs of a bee sting can range from very subtle to alarming and can include the following:
- Swelling around the sting site
- Crying or yelping
- Scratching or chewing at the sting site
- Difficulty breathing
- Fainting or collapse
If your pet is displaying any of these signs, they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. To avoid a potential bee or wasp sting, keep your pet away from plants or flowers during walks as these insects tend to populate these areas. Always keep an eye on your pets while they are outdoors and check your home and yard for any bee hives or wasp nests and have them promptly removed.
Check the temp before you step!
Even if you live along the coast, you surely get your share of hot days during the summer. One thing that us humans tend to not realize is that the surfaces we walk on can reach alarming temperatures, which could mean big trouble for our dog’s paws.
Hot surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and sand can burn the sensitive paw pads of dogs, which may result in red or swollen paw pads, blisters, and charred skin in severe cases. The best way to check if the temperature of the asphalt is too hot is to place your hand on the walking surface for 7 - 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Additionally, try to keep walks during the cooler parts of the day such as the early morning or evening to ensure your pet's wellness.
Snake in the grass isn't just a metaphor
At least one species of venomous snakes are found in every state except for Hawaii and Alaska. Unfortunately, cases of dogs being bitten by snakes, specifically rattlesnakes, significantly increase during the summer season as many people are taking their pups with them on walks or trails. Snake sightings and, ultimately, bites are more common during the warmer seasons.
Dogs are generally curious creatures and if they see something unfamiliar to them, such as a rattlesnake in the bushes, most pups will go to investigate. Additionally, this could lead to the pup getting too close and suffering a venomous bite. Rattlesnake bites are painful and could be fatal if not immediately treated by a veterinarian.
Signs that your pup may have suffered a snake bite include:
- Swelling or bruising around the bite site
- Bleeding from wound
- Shaking and tremors, seizures
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Blood in urine
- Collapse or fainting
While on walks or hikes with your pet, keep your pet in your line of sight at all times and on a short leash to avoid them from wandering off the trail.
A good portion of the western part of the United States is home to these barb-like flower clusters known as foxtails. Commonly seen on hiking trails, foxtails can become particularly dangerous for pets. Foxtails can easily lodge themselves into the ears, nose, mouth, or even between toes of a dog that travels through them. If not immediately removed, a foxtail can burrow through your pet’s skin and enter the body. Over time, the foxtail can make its way into internal organs such as the lungs and will require extensive surgery for removal.
Always examine your pet’s fur and body after they have been exercising outside, immediately removing any foxtails that may have latched onto them. If you encounter a foxtail that can’t be removed on your own, take your pet to see a veterinarian for assistance.
We hope you have a fun, fanciful, and foxtail-free time with your furry friends this summer but, if your dog or cat does get in a bee-related or other binds, contact us right away.