Dog Summer Safety Tips: 3 Summer Dangers You’re Probably Ignoring
Danger #1: Drowning
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural-born swimmers, so drowning is definitely a concern when your dog is around pools, rivers and lakes, explains Dr. Kelly Ryan, DVM, director of veterinary services at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Medical Center of Mid-America. “Until you know your dog is a good swimmer, it is best that your dog wears a life jacket,” Dr. Ryan says.
Danger #2: Bacterial Infections
Being in the water more during the summer also means that your dog is at a higher risk of contracting infections from algae and bacteria.
“Lakes, rivers and untreated pools can contain harmful bacteria and other organisms, including blue-green algae, E. coli, salmonella and parasites,” says Dr. Ryan. “When ingested, blue-green algae can lead to liver and nervous system failure. Other bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella, as well as parasites found in lakes or rivers, are troubling because not only do they pose a risk for our dogs, but oftentimes they are zoonotic. That means there is a chance they could be passed from your dog to you.”
Danger #3: Sunburn
Just like humans, dogs can get a sunburn. “Sun damage in dogs can lead to skin cancer, so it is important to prevent your dog from getting burned,” explains Dr. Julie Bank, CEO of Pasadena Humane Society in California. “Dogs are most likely to get sunburned in areas without fur, such as the inside of their ears, belly, and especially the tip of their nose.”
Dogs with shorter coats and hairless dogs are also more likely to get a dog sunburn, as they have less fur covering their skin, explains Dr. Bank. “Many dogs with white or light-colored fur also have lighter skin and are more likely to burn,” adds Dr. Bank.
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