Summertime is right around the corner! As the weather warms up and we are opting to spend more and more time outside soaking up the sunshine, we must refresh ourselves on some of the hazards that our pets face as the season changes. From hot pavement dangers to water safety, we have you covered on all the reminders you need to keep your pet happy, safe, and healthy this summer!
In the land of 10,000 lakes, most of us love spending hot summer days around beautiful, sparkling lakes! However, there are hidden dangers that we need to keep in mind before taking out pups out to do the doggie paddle.
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural-born swimmers. It is important, especially with pets you have never taken swimming before, to test their abilities before allowing them to jump in paws first. Start in the shallows and get in with them, make sure they can keep their head above the water, and all of their legs know what to do. If your pet seems panicked about taking a dip, it is best not to force them into swimming. When helping your pet learn to swim, a special dog-friendly lifejacket may help!
Look out for blue-green algae blooms and contaminated water as they can be dangerous, even deadly! It is a good idea to only take your pet swimming in bodies of water that are monitored for recreational use to ensure safety. Leptospirosis is a real threat, and the bacteria that cause this disease can be present in a great lake or a small puddle. A vaccination is available that can help protect your pet against lepto, so give us a call to ensure your puppy-paddler is protected before summertime swimming!
Strong currents can sweep a dog away in the blink of an eye, so it’s a good idea to take note of current conditions before taking a swim. While a lake might appear to be crystal-smooth underneath the surface, strong rip currents brewing is possible. It is a good idea to avoid swimming in water that is visibly fast-moving and to keep your pet within easy reach should they run into trouble with a current.
Water intoxication occurs when your pet drinks too much water in a short period and can happen during swimming. Excessive water consumption can throw off the balance of electrolytes in your dog’s body. Signs of water intoxication include lack of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. Advanced symptoms include difficulty breathing, collapsing, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Remember to take breaks while playing in the water to give them time to digest whatever has been slurped up.
If you have ever walked barefoot across the asphalt on a hot summer day, you know the excessive heat it traps and holds on to! Paw pad injuries due to hot pavement are common in the summer, so be sure to take your summer strolls through grass or protect your pooches feet with doggie booties!
Never leave your pet unattended in a car. On a warm and breezy early summer day in Minnesota, your pet can overheat or suffocate very easily, even with the windows down.
Beat the heat of summer by enjoying the outdoors during cooler times of the day, like early mornings and the evening. Always bring plenty of clean water for your pet to drink when spending time outdoors and provide breaks in the shade to help them cool off.
Summertime Food Dangers
While enjoying our BBQs and picnics this summer, keep in mind the food dangers that could affect your pet. While it might be tempting to share the bounty, be sure you are only treating your pet to small bites of foods that are 100% safe for them to eat. Avoid these summertime favorites:
Bones and fat trimmings. While it might be tempting to let your cat or dog have that hunk of fat you trimmed off your steak or the bone from those perfectly smoked ribs, excessive ingestion of fat can cause pancreatitis, and cooked bones can splinter and cut mouths and even cause internal bleeding when swallowed.
Beware of the hidden dangers. From onions in your tater salad to grapes in the chicken salad, it is vital to stay vigilant about the foods you enjoy this summer to ensure your pet does not eat something that can harm them. Don’t forget to remind any well-meaning backyard barbeque guests as well!
Alcohol. Your pet likely will avoid the strong stuff, but wines, fruity cocktails, beers, ciders, and hard seltzers might smell appetizing to your pet. Ensure all cups are looked after, and empty bottles and cans are correctly disposed of where your pet can’t reach them.
Frozen Treats. In moderation, a bite or two of plain vanilla ice cream will probably be fine for your pet. However, overindulgence can lead to tummy troubles and excess weight gain. There are plenty of great homemade frozen treat recipes online to help keep your dog or cat cool this summer or opt instead to purchase frozen treat products specially formulated for pets. Just keep portion size in mind and give these items sparingly.
Monthly preventatives are crucial during the hot summer months. Ticks, fleas, and mosquitos are flourishing during the summer and constantly looking for their next host. Even one missed dose of preventatives can leave your pet suffering, so stock up and set a reminder!
Biting gnats are annoying to both people and pets, but the good news is that they are harmless! Besides some wild-looking bites, the red spots tend to clear up in about a week and do not seem to bother pets after the bite occurs. If you notice spots like these after enjoying a day out, don’t panic! However, if the spots appear to leak fluid, bother your pet, or don’t go away after a week, give us a call.
If you have any questions or concerns about summer safety, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our goal is to help you ensure that you and your pet have a fun, healthy, and safe summer together!
Open heart disease: FDA finds potential link to 16 brands of dog food
“We've been bringing our little buddies to Crossroads over 20 years. I can't imagine taking a pet any where else. ”— Darren D.
“Very caring staff! ”— Carla P.
“We have trusted Crossroads Animal Hospital with the care of our furry babies for over 19 years. Our animals are our children and the doctors and staff help us through all issues, good and bad, providing the best life for our babies. We feel we are in the best possible care ”— Julie and Greg S.
“I started going to Crossroads Animal Hospital in 1987. As with most people who love their animals, they are not just “pets”, they are part of my family. The professional & personal care shown to them (and me) has always been outstanding from everyone at the clinic; I cannot say enough good things about Crossroads. I would highly recommend Crossroads Animal Hospital to anyone looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care. They are simply the best. ”— Kelly C.
“ From puppy-hood to adult dogs, the team at Crossroads has worked carefully, diligently, and most importantly, compassionately to meet our organization's requirements and provide the health solutions and care our dogs need. The real value of Crossroads is that you get a partner who truly wants to see your companion animal and family member healthy and happy and whose individual team members work with you to ensure they are. Thanks, Crossroads! ”— PawPADS
“I found Crossroads Animal Hospital before I even moved to Minnesota! We had two pets, one with a serious chronic condition and other with a life-threatening acute condition, and needed to ensure continuity of care once I arrived in Minnesota. Dr. Davies, Dr. Michels and the staff at Crossroads Animal Hospital provided fantastic care to my pets for the rest of their lives. And they demonstrate amazing compassion and caring to my pets and to my family when our pets reached the end of their time with us. ”— Chris B.
“I’ve always gotten very good care for my pets at Crossroads. My recent visit was no different. Thanks to a caring staff and great doctors. ”— Paul and Nancy L.
“We were both very pleased with Dr. Davies we felt very confident, comfortable with her and we think Sami did too. ”— Tim and Cheryl C.
“Our dog Raymond has been a patient at Crossroads for over a decade. The doctors and staff there have helped us through the ups and downs of his health. He wouldn’t be alive today without them. Now they are helping us manage his senior years so he is as happy and active as a 15 year old dog can be. We are grateful to them in every direction for their expertise and loving support. ”— Velvet W.
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“Dr. Michaels has always been a very caring person which helps to make her the excellent vet that she is. She listens to us when we explain why we are there. She treats our dog with compassion. We never have to worry about the care our dog receives while she is at Crossroads. ”— Bob and Julia C.
“Great! Good talk to the Dr. led to understanding a long standing issue with our dog. She was great to listen and gave us very useful information. A+++ visit! ”— Roger and Lana J.
“Everything was great. Justice is doing super and we really do appreciate all that you guys do for our Roark puppies. ”— Mike and Sue R.
“Dr Michaels and the staff provided excellent service.... Just as they have throughout all of my furry “kids” lives. They are loving, thorough, and wonderful. The best vets for almost 25 yrs of service!!! ”— Steve and Sheryl S.
“Dr Michaels you are the best. Always love seeing you and the staff. You are very caring and always have my boys best interest at heart. ”— Peggy H.
“As always, it’s such a pleasure to visit Crossroads!! The staff are so friendly and efficient. ”— Kathleen and Ron F.
“Everyone is always very friendly and care about the welfare of my pet. ”— Marian and Daniel A.
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“I highly recommend Crossroads Animal Hospital. We were so glad we chose this group when we rescued our dog. She was emaciated and sick from being on the road for a couple of months and Crossroads worked very closely with us to help bring her back to health. The vets and staff are very attentive and their love and caring for animals shows. Our primary vet is Julie Michels, she is knowledgeable, concerned, respectful (of both our dog and us) and communicates very well. We have seen other vets in the group as well and have found the same attitudes. If you are looking for a doctor for any of your pets, this is an excellent choice. ”— Carrie H.
“Dr. Michaels is always focused on Princess. She puts us at ease with her calm demeanor. She will discuss any options, including cost, available for treating our dogs illness. The techs understand caring for a dog and are sensitive to our feelings. The office staff have a smile and are very attentive to the customer. They are also fun to joke with. All in all, an excellent place to take your pet. ”— Bob and Julia C.
“New client to Crossroads. Needed an appointment for my 12 1/2 yr old female cat. Got the appointment quickly. Saw Dr. Julie. Couldn’t have been happier with the entire experience. Excellent customer service, thorough exam on Callie, called the next day with results. Would highly recommend to anyone needing veterinarian services. ”— Jean L.
“Very caring veterinarians and staff. They’ve taken the time to get to know us and our pets and remember us and our pets’ medical situation. ”— Robert and Kathy P.
“We are always able to get an appointment quickly and one that works with our schedule. The office staff is always friendly and helpful. The doctors also explain everything thoroughly and call us personally to explain test results, etc. ”— Tony and Laurie C.
“Crossroads Animal Hospital is fantastic. I am so appreciative of all of the care they’ve given my pets. They are friendly and honest, flexible and great at what they do. ”— Jennifer and Luke V.
“I have been using Crossroads for over 20 years to provide Vet. care for my cats. They are professional, caring. friendly, practical, helpful and expert in their care of my feline pets. ”— Mary Ann and James W.
“The care Crossroads Animal Hospital provides is excellent! I’ve been bringing my pets here since you opened and would not consider going elsewhere. Thank you! ”— Laura and Loren H.
“Dr. Langevin is wonderful. She obviously cares about pets and their care as well as the people who own them. She seemed knowledgeable about new treatments for my dog with epilepsy. ”— Robin and Steven N.
“Very caring staff and vets at Crossroads, highly recommend! ”— Carla P.
“We always feel welcome and feel that we get individualized care. ”— Scott and Heather M.
“This is a great veterinary clinic. The employees are always friendly and knowledgeable. ”— Jane and Mike S.
“Kelly is always sooooo friendly & helpful. You’re very fortunate to have her on your staff. ”— Sue L.
“I have been bringing my dogs to Crossroads Animal Hospital for over 16 years. The care from all of the staff there has been exemplary. They have all gone above and beyond on more than one occasion. From a volunteer to stay a little after hours because I couldn’t get there before closing time, to the doctors who diagnosed a difficult problem of a very sick dog who was just 6 years old at the time. That dog is now almost 18 now and is doing great! I will be using Crossroads for all of my future veterinary needs and will highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for excellent care for their animals. ”— Nadine O.
“Dr. Strecker is a wonderful vet. He goes above and beyond and obviously cares about dogs. He suggested a different medication that we could try to treat a long-standing medical problem of our dog that I was not aware was an option. ”— Robin and Steven N.