The MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center today issued its annual summertime safety tips in hopes all pet owners can avoid a trip to the animal ER ahead of the July 4th Holiday weekend. Topping the list of threats once again are backyard barbecues. If left unattended dogs can severely injure themselves by swallowing wooden or metal skewers, foil and plastic wrap, corn cobs and bones. Soaring summer temperatures also pose dangers to pets left outside or in cars.
Angell treats dozens of barbecue-related injuries every summer. Dogs swallow more corn cobs and peach pits than any other dangerous food time. Round cob parts and peach pits cannot be digested and can become lodged in the intestines. Bones can also be accidentally ingested and caught in the esophagus or intestines, which can be life threatening. In many cases surgery is required to remove these objects from the stomachs of dogs. Angell veterinarians stress that the best treatment is prevention—so these items should never be placed within reach of canine pets.
Summertime Heat: A Silent Killer
Nothing kills more pets during the summer months than heat stroke. Animals are very sensitive to high temperatures, making it critically important to monitor pets and provide them with plenty of shade and water. Dogs with short snouts such as Pugs and Bulldogs are more susceptible to breathing difficulty in hot weather. Pets should never be left in the car because even in 80-degree weather the inside temperature can soar to in 110 degrees in just 10 minutes. Angell veterinarians offer the follow recommendations for keeping pets safe during summertime heat waves:
· Walk pets in the early morning or late evening when the sun is low and temperatures are cooler
· Walk dogs on softer ground such as dirt trails or grass instead of hot blacktop or cement sidewalks, which can burn their paws
· Make sure dogs always have plenty of shade in which to rest outside. The shade provided by trees is ideal, particularly if there is soft grass or dirt underneath, on which they can relax
· Always provide plenty of fresh clean water for dogs
· Keep pets inside in the coolest parts of the home during the most intense heat waves
Pet owners should immediately contact their veterinarian should pets exhibit any signs of heat stroke such as excessive panting, vomiting, intense fatigue, loss of appetite or lethargy. For more information about summertime safety tips readers can consult www.angell.org.