Summertime Dangers For Your Dog

Just as you look forward to all of the fun of the summer season, the warm weather brings out the inner puppy in your dog. However, summertime can also bring dangers from both physical injuries and health risks to your canine best friend.

Here are some of the risks that may turn a happy summer day into a trip to an emergency animal clinic.

Physical dangers

Heat related risks

Your dog is susceptible to both heat exhaustion and heatstroke when its body temperature rises too quickly and overwhelms its own internal cooling mechanisms. Heat exhaustion is the less serious of the two conditions, identified by excessive panting and possible drooling. It can usually be resolved by moving your dog to a cool and well ventilated location and drinking water.

Heat stroke, on the other hand, will exhibit symptoms such as extreme panting, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, and possible seizures or death. The dog's body no longer has the power to regulate its body temperature, and its cooling capabilities are shut down.

Treatment must begin immediately, with immersion in water and ice packs if possible. Your dog should then be taken to an Animal Emergency Clinic for additional treatments that will bring its body temperature down to a manageable level.


All dogs, but especially lighter short haired breeds, are susceptible to sunburn, especially to the ears. Dogs can also experience severe burns to their feet from walking on hot asphalt or other surfaces such as beach sand.

If a surface is too hot for you to walk on with bare feet, then it is too hot for your dog's feet.

Leg injuries

Larger dogs are more susceptible to injuries such as tears to knee ligaments, but any dog can sustain leg injuries by running and leaping on uneven surfaces. Chasing balls or flying discs can result in a bad landing and a ligament tear, which often requires surgery and extensive forced immobility followed by rehabilitation.

Health risks

Plants and gardening supplies

You only need to look at websites such as that of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that lists several deadly but common plants to realize that constant vigilance and mindful planting is the key to protecting dogs, who are hardly reluctant to swallow almost anything without hesitation, from ingesting poisonous plants from your garden.

However, other commonly used supplies such as fertilizers, insecticides, or mulch, can cause serious gastrointestinal issues or even death if ingested in sufficient quantities.

Vehicle coolant

Coolant is used to keep engine form overheating, and like any liquid, expands when it is heated. Excess summer heat can cause coolant to expand to a point that it flows onto the ground. You can notice it dripping from a vehicle that has stopped on a hot summer day.

Because of its naturally sweet taste and smell, dogs will tend to ingest spilled coolant. It's main ingredient, ethylene glycol, is poisonous, and can kill both pets and small children if ingested in sufficient quantities. 

Clean up all coolant spills and overflow puddles as soon as possible. Propylene glycol can be used as a substitute for ethylene glycol. It lacks the sweet taste and the toxicity of ethylene glycol.

However, propylene glycol is much more expensive and takes twice as long to naturally decompose, so it is somewhat worse for the environment. Mindfulness and prompt removal of spilled coolant are the best choices for keeping both your canine and human kids safe during the season of summer fun.