Summer dangers

Summer is quickly on its way, and we can’t wait to welcome the warmer weather. However, with hotter temperatures on the way , it’s important that we are aware of the risks that our pets could face.

Let’s have a look at some of the risks that we can encounter in summer and see how they can be avoided.

Dog walking in hot weather

In the summer months it can be dangerous to walk our dogs in the heat, especially flatter faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and boxers who can struggle to cool down by panting. Warmer temperatures can lead to hyperthermia (overheating), which can cause organ failure and even death.

Overheating can be avoided by:

  • Avoiding walks during hotter times of the day, such as midday. The best time to walk your dog would be early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. However, just remember that it may be better to not even walk your dog at all in the heat.
  • Test the ground temperature by placing the back of your hand on the pavement. Remain with your hand on the pavement for around 7 seconds. If it is too hot or uncomfortable, then it will be too hot for your dog too! Their feet can become burnt and develop blisters in extreme heat.
  • Always offer plenty of fresh water. Avoid long walks, but if taking your dog out is absolutely necessary, take a water bowl and fresh water to offer them throughout the walk.
  • On days that are particularly hot, don’t even walk your dog at all! A dog will be absolutely fine missing a walk or two, instead of walking in the heat. You could play indoor games with your dog instead, to exercise their brains. Try hide and seek to find toys, treats, or yourself!

Pet safe sun cream

If you own a short haired pet, or one that is hairless, you should consider pet safe sun-cream. This will help to protect your pet from sunburn which can cause serious burns to the skin.

If you are looking for sun cream for your pet, always look for a pet safe product.  If unsure, speak with your veterinary practice for recommendations.

Avoid letting pets that are susceptible to sunburn bathe in the sun. This includes pets with pink noses and ears too. It may be best to keep them indoors or close curtains and blinds.

BBQ dangers

BBQs are a fantastic way to celebrate the warmer weather, however, they do come with risks for our cats, dogs and even smaller pets, such as rabbits.

Toxic foods could be accidentally ingested such as onions, garlic and raisins. These are commonly used in food used on a BBQ whether in salads, marinades or as a side dish. If toxic foods are ingested, you should contact the practice as soon as possible.

Kebabs on bamboo sticks offer a potential for an animal to ingest a foreign body. This can become lodged in the stomach or intestines and cause a perforation or blockage. Corn on the cob cores are also a common cause of intestinal blockages in dogs during the summer.

Hot coals should be disposed of or cooled down appropriately. Coals can remain hot for several hours after use and can cause serious burns if they come into contact with an animal’s skin. Burn wounds can easily blister and become infected. If you think that your pet has been burnt, speak with us immediately.

Blue-green algae and water safety

Taking your dog for a wild swim can be great to help them to cool down, as well as burning some energy. However, there are a couple of hazards to be aware of:

  • If swimming in the sea, be mindful of large waves, strong currents and salt water. It can be easy for dogs to get caught in strong currents, or get into trouble with waves. Salt water can also cause vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested. If they drink large amounts, excess salt can cause serious health concerns.
  • If you plan to swim in open water, it is important to use buoyancy aids such as doggy life jackets. Open water can become deep very quickly. Buoyancy aids can help to keep both you and your dog afloat, whilst also preventing exhaustion. Know how to contact the coast guard or emergency services before entering the water.
  • Blue-green algae are bacteria living in fresh water that contain dangerous toxins which can make our pets unwell. In extreme cases, blue-green algae poisoning can be fatal. Sometimes, there may be no indication that there are any blue-green algae present in water. In other cases, there is a brown scum on the water’s surface, or a blue or green bloom. If dangerous algae have been identified, there are often signs around the water advising pet owners. If you think your dog may have come into contact with the algae, contact us immediately.


Believe it or not, here in Britain we have wild Adder snakes which love the warmer weather and basking in the sun. Adders are found across the country and can cause serious problems if they were to bite your pet. In rare cases, adders can actually eat smaller animals such as guinea pigs, so ensure that you keep your pets locked up and secure.

Adders love to spend the warmer days basking, but can also enjoy cooling down under shrubs and bushes. Make sure that you’re extra cautious when walking your dogs off the lead in woodland areas or open spaces – it’s always best to keep them under close control.

If you are suspicious that your pet may have been bitten by an adder, contact the practice immediately.

Final thoughts on summer hazards

Whilst this may all seem very scary, summer is a great time of year to take our pets outdoors. It is always best to be cautious in warmer weather, around water or in woodlands, and when preparing BBQs. As long as you closely monitor your pet at all times, there should be no cause for concern.

If you’re worried about your pet during the summer months, we are here for a chat if you need further advice.