Summertime dangers for pets

by | General Pet Care |

We want to make sure both you and your furry friends have a happy and safe summer. Follow these precautions to protect your furry friends from summertime dangers this year! 

Heat stroke can kill 

NEVER leave an animal alone in a vehicle, even in the shade. Animals left in cars, or other unventilated areas, or tied up in the sun, are susceptible to heat stroke.  

Since dogs have only a limited ability to sweat, even a short time in a hot environment can be life-threatening. Temperatures inside a parked car can rapidly reach dangerous levels, even on relatively mild days, and even if the windows are slightly open. A dog’s normal body temperature is 39°C and a temperature of 41°C can be withstood only for a very short time before irreparable brain damage or death can occur. 

Dogs should only be left outdoors for short periods on very hot days, and should have sufficient water and a cool, sheltered place out of direct sun. Walking early in the morning or evening when it is cooler is advisable as well. If it’s too hot for you to put your hand on the ground for more than 3 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet to be outside walking on it! 

Certain types of dogs – such as northern breeds (huskies or malamutes) or short-snouted dogs (boxers, pugs, etc.) – can have a more difficult time in the heat. Other dogs that may be more susceptible to heat exposure include those that: 

  • are geriatric 
  • are overweight 
  • are under six months of age 
  • have certain medical conditions, such as lung or heart disease 
  • are taking certain medications 
First aid for heatstroke 

Familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke and what to do if it occurs. First aid and medical treatment are essential and can help save your dog’s life. Time is of the essence! 

Signs of heatstroke include: 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Excessive panting or drooling 
  • Listlessness 
  • Confusion or disorientation 
  • Bright red gums 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Collapse, seizure or coma 
  • Body temperature higher than 40°C 
What to do 
  • Move your dog out of the heat immediately. 
  • Use a hose or wet towels to start cooling your dog down. Do not use ice. Offer your dog water. 
  • Take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Continue cooling them with wet towels during the drive. 
  • If you’re unable to get to a veterinarian right away, monitor their  temperature and check for signs of shock. Stop the cooling process when your dog’s temperature reaches 40°C or their body temperature can drop too low and increase the risk of shock. 
  • Even if your dog cools down, take them to a vet as soon as possible, as some medical problems caused by heatstroke may not show up right away. 
Pets in pickup trucks 

It is unsafe for your dog to ride loose in the back of a pickup truck. They could jump out, be thrown from the back, injured from flying debris, and they are susceptible to heatstroke and burns to their paws from the surface of the truck box, which can get dangerously hot in the sun. 

If your dog can’t ride with you in the cab of the truck, leave them at home; it’s safer for everyone! 

Garden hazards 

Insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers are common causes of pet poisoning. Avoid walking your furry friend on lawns that have been recently sprayed with any of these chemicals. These substances, if ingested, can cause death. As a precaution, rinse your animal’s paws with water after your walk. 

For your garden maintenance, consider using non-toxic, natural alternatives. There are many natural gardening supplies available at most gardening centres. Click here for harmful plants to watch out for. 

Poisonous warm weather hazards 

Many seemingly harmless items can be poisonous to your furry friend. Make sure you know your veterinarian’s procedures for emergency situations, especially ones that occur after business hours. Keep phone numbers for your veterinarian and a local emergency veterinary service in a convenient location. 

Poisonous hazards include: 
  • Animal toxins – certain toads, insects, spiders and snakes 
  • Blue-green algae in ponds 
  • Citronella candles 
  • Cocoa mulch 
  • Compost piles, fertilizers 
  • Flea/tick products – always speak to your veterinarian before administering any flea/tick products. 
  • Certain outdoor plants and plant bulbs 
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies 
  • Fly baits containing methomyl 
  • Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde 
Fireworks frighten 

Fireworks are terrifying for many animals. Animals who are frightened by fireworks will often run and can get lost. If you anticipate fireworks in your neighbourhood, leave your furry friend at home and play music or the television to help disguise the noise. Close windows and blinds or curtains. You can also speak to your family veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication, that can be given in advance of fireworks.  

Know who to call  

If you see an animal in distress in the heat, call 1-833-9ANIMAL or your local police. If an animal’s life is in immediate danger, dial 911. For more hot weather pet safety tips, visit Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet!