10 Summer Dangers for Pets


Summer offers a wonderful opportunity for pets and their owners to enjoy the outdoors, but it also brings unique risks. This blog explores 10 summer dangers for pets and highlights why awareness and prompt action are key to ensuring a safe season. If you’re ever in doubt about your pet’s health or encounter any of these hazards, please call Happy Tails Emergency Veterinary Clinic at (336) 288-2688.

1. Heatstroke

During the hot summer months, heatstroke is a significant danger for pets. Dogs and cats can quickly become overheated since they do not sweat the same way humans do. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and uncoordinated movement. To protect your pets, provide plenty of shade and fresh water, and never leave them in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

Preventing Overheating

Keep outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, and consider using cooling mats or vests. Regular grooming can also help pets better regulate their body temperature.

2. Dehydration

Just like people, pets can quickly become dehydrated in the summer heat. Ensure your pet has constant access to clean water. Change the water frequently to encourage them to drink and consider multiple water stations around your home and yard. Offering wet food can also help increase fluid intake.

Signs of Dehydration

Watch for signs of dehydration in pets which include: 

  • Dry gums 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Lethargy 
  • Sunken eyes 

3. Sunburn

Pets, particularly those with short or light-colored coats, can suffer from sunburn. Protect them by applying pet-safe sunscreen to their ears, nose, and any other exposed areas before spending time outdoors.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

Make sure to use sunscreen specifically formulated for pets, as those made for humans can contain harmful chemicals that pets might ingest while grooming.

4. Insect Bites and Stings

Summer increases the risk of bites and stings from insects like bees, wasps, and mosquitoes. Some pets can have allergic reactions to these stings, which can be severe. Keep an eye out for excessive swelling, scratching, or distress. Using veterinarian-approved flea, tick, and mosquito repellents can protect your pet from these pests and the diseases they carry.

5. Toxic Plants

Many summer plants are toxic to pets. Common ones include lilies, azaleas, and sago palms. Keep your pets away from dangerous plants and consult your vet or a pet poison hotline immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant. When planting your garden, choose pet-safe plants, and keep hazardous chemicals and fertilizers out of reach.

6. Unsupervised Swimming

Not all pets are natural swimmers, and pools can pose a serious risk for pets. Never leave pets unsupervised near a swimming pool, and consider a pet life vest for extra safety. Install steps or a ramp to help pets exit the pool easily to prevent drowning.

7. Hot Pavement

Asphalt and metal surfaces can heat up to dangerous temperatures and burn your pet’s paws. Test surfaces with your hand before letting your pet walk on them, and try to walk your pet on grass or shaded areas. Consider protective booties for walks to shield your pet’s paws from hot surfaces.

8. Fireworks Anxiety

Fireworks can be terrifying for pets, leading to anxiety and even escape attempts. During fireworks season, keep pets indoors in a quiet, sheltered area. Talk to your veterinarian about solutions to help manage your pet’s anxiety during noisy events like fireworks.

9. Outdoor Gatherings

Barbecues and outdoor parties can expose pets to a range of dangers, from alcoholic beverages to skewers. Keep harmful foods and objects out of reach, and monitor your pet closely in social settings.

Safe Socializing

Train your pet to respond to commands and consider keeping them on a leash or in a designated safe area during gatherings.

10. Lost Pets

The increase in outdoor activity during summer can mean more opportunities for pets to wander off and get lost. Ensure your pet has a microchip and wears a collar with up-to-date contact information. Microchipping your pet greatly increases the chances of being reunited if they do get lost.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Summer 

Summer is a fantastic time to enjoy life with your pet, but it also requires vigilance and preparation to keep them safe. If you notice any troubling signs or if your pet encounters any of these summer dangers, don’t hesitate to call Happy Tails Emergency Veterinary Clinic at (336) 288-2688.

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At Happy Tails Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Greensboro, NC, our kind and knowledgeable team is available to provide gold standard emergency vet care for you and your pet. We’re available in the late night and early morning hours during the week, and 24/7 on weekends for your convenience.