Dog Days of Summer

Barbecues. Beach days. Road trips. Summer brings many of our favorite activities. You can help Fido and
Whiskers enjoy them too by taking some simple precautions.

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  • Written by
    Nancy Sokoler


“Even in the South Bay heatstroke can be a concern for some dogs, especially older dogs and brachycephalic dogs ,” says Jennifer Bailey, DVM, a veterinarian at Bay Animal Hospital in Manhattan Beach. Keep pets indoors during the hottest part of the day and make sure they have ample water.

Signs of heatstroke in cats and dogs include excessive panting, labored breathing, lethargy, fever, drooling and vomiting. If your pet appears to have heat stroke, apply cool wet towels to his head, neck and chest and offer him cold water. Take your pet to the vet to be checked. 

Beware of asphalt and hot sand. “We see animals with thermal burns and blisters to their foot pads,” says Mike Zareski, DVM, owner and clinical director of Western Veterinary Group in Torrance. Try to walk your dogs on grass when possible


“When you go walking and hiking in this area, your dogs may pick up foxtails and other things that can get stuck between their toes or in their ears,” says Dr. Zareski. Check your dog’s paws and feet to make sure no plant material has hitched a ride.

Fireworks can frighten animals. “Know your pet and what triggers anxiety,” says Dr. Zareski. “Anxious dogs can seriously hurt themselves and do damage to your home. We can give pills for short-term sedation to dogs under our care if necessary.”


Allergies often plague pets during the summer. “If your pet is scratching his ear or skin, it may signal an infection from a plant or pollen allergy, or from a flea allergy,” says Dr. Bailey. Seasonal allergies can’t be prevented, but consistent flea control can help you avoid flearelated allergies. See the vet if you notice abnormal hair loss, bumps or redness, chewing and licking or scratching. Treatment might include flea medication, antibiotics for infections, antihistamines for itching or allergy testing. 


Keep that barbecued chicken leg to yourself. Bones can easily splinter, causing mouth and gum damageor internal injuries if swallowed. 


For car travel, offer your pets frequent stops (every two to three hours) and keep them in crates, travel-safe beds or harnesses. NEVER leave pets unattended in the car. “Not even for two minutes while you take a restroom break,” warns Dr. Zareski. Even with the car running and the air conditioner on, temperatures can soar inside the car.

Both vets advise against sedating pets during travel. When it comes to taking care of pets during the summer or throughout the year, says Dr. Zareski, “Take the same precautions with your animal that you would take for yourself.” 