Long summer days entice people and pets to spend more time outside doing the activities they love, gathering with friends and family, and interacting with other pets and pet owners at the park. While these activities are essential for physical and mental health, they also can increase the chances that your pet will experience an emergency. The Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team in Wallisville, Texas, wants pet owners to understand these risks so they can keep their furry companions safe during their summer activities.

#1: Heatstroke in pets

Heatstroke is a significant risk for pets because they cannot cool down as quickly or efficiently as people. Dogs exercising in high temperatures or humidity they are not accustomed to are at risk for heatstroke. In addition, brachycephalic (i.e., flat-faced) pets are at higher risk for heatstroke than the general pet population, as are overweight, older, and chronically ill pets. 

Help your pet avoid this life-threatening summer emergency by following our heat safety tips:

  • Keep pets inside during the hottest midday hours
  • Don’t leave pets unattended in vehicles or outdoors
  • Provide exercising pets with water, shade, and frequent breaks
  • Use cooling vests or mats
  • Don’t let high-risk pets become excited or overexert themselves outdoors

#2: Injuries and bite wounds in pets

Pets can become injured in various ways year-round, but increased outdoor and social activity during the summer increases this risk. Pets can injure themselves running and playing outdoors, especially if they are allowed off-leash, and can suffer cuts, torn nails, broken bones, and sprains or strains, among other things. We also see a surge in dog bite wounds in the summer as more people are out and about with their pets.

You can prevent many of these injuries by keeping your pet on a leash while away from home and checking your yard for hazards before letting your four-legged friend run free. Always ask other dog owners before letting your dog approach them, and be cautious if an unfamiliar, off-leash dog approaches yours. Skip the dog park and opt for supervised day care if your pet enjoys social play.

#3: Pancreatitis, stomach upset, or foreign body ingestion

Summer parties and cookouts allow pets to beg or steal food from guests or go dumpster-diving for discarded treasures. Pets who consume fatty foods can develop pancreatitis, a painful condition often requiring several days in the ICU to recover, or an upset stomach leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Indigestible objects, such as corn cobs or animal bones, can become lodged in the stomach or intestines, necessitating emergency surgery. 

Prevent these emergencies by setting strict “no feeding the pets” ground rules during parties or by keeping your furry friends inside while food is served. Clean up after guests and secure trash promptly in an area inaccessible to your pet.

#4: Snake bites in pets

Texas is home to several venomous snake species, and pets are at high risk for bites because of their curious and investigative nature. Any snake bite requires immediate veterinary care to provide antivenin, counteract potential toxic effects, and control pain and swelling. You can prevent most snake bites by keeping pets on-leash and staying on designated trails. Don’t let your pet stick their heads into holes or under rocks, and be wary of anything your dog finds interesting in the hidden grass.

#5: Allergic reactions in pets

An allergic reaction can happen in response to a wide variety of triggers, and in many cases, you won’t know exactly what caused the problem. Bee or wasp stings are common triggers, but inhaled allergens, something your pet ingested, or other insect bites are also possible causes. Allergic reactions may cause hives, facial swelling, vomiting, or diarrhea, and sometimes progress to anaphylaxis with difficulty breathing, shock, and collapse.

Preventing allergic reactions may be difficult or impossible unless you know the underlying cause. You can take general precautionary measures by keeping pets away from insects outdoors, using flea and tick preventives, and purchasing a pet-safe insect repellent. Bring your pet in for an exam and treatment of allergies if they show itchy, red, or inflamed skin.

Accidents happen despite your best efforts, so contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team in Wallisville or one of our other convenient locations if your pet has a veterinary emergency. For after-hours or weekend concerns, you can contact our after-hours phone triage line to speak with a qualified veterinary professional who can advise you on the best next steps to care for your pet.