Summer is one of Montana’s prettiest times of the year. With nice weather for hiking, open patios for eating out, and plenty of dog parks to visit, every dog can keep a busy schedule. But while you’re having fun together, be sure to keep an eye out for some common summer hazards to help keep your dog—and yourself—safe this season.
Three Common Summer Hazards for Dogs in Montana
1: Overheating and Heat Stroke
Heat stroke in dogs starts to happen when their body temperatures exceed 104º F. It does not need to be 100 degrees outside for your dog to start overheating. With their fur coats, temperatures as low as 75º F can send some dogs into the beginning stages of heat stroke, especially in dogs with a dark coat color. Overheating is even more likely if you add exercise.
You can avoid heat stroke by:
- Planning breaks in your exercise
- Bringing lots of drinking water
- Pouring extra water along your dog’s back and head to keep them cool
If you ever notice your dog is panting hard, or struggling to breathe, stop what you are doing. Allow them to rest in the shade and offer them water. If you notice any other symptoms,take them to a veterinarian to get treatment for heat stroke.
Signs of overheating and heat stroke include:
- Frantic panting
- Labored breathing
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Inability to stand
Remember: The #1 cause of heat stroke deaths in dogs is leaving them in a vehicle.
The temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight will go up about 20 degrees every 10 minutes. The shade is no better, with the temperature rising about 15 degrees every 10 minutes. Leaving a window cracked is not enough to prevent heat stroke. If you’re going somewhere on a warm sunny day that you can’t bring your dog inside, it’s better to leave them at home.
When they are playing and exercising, dogs are often having too much fun to notice that they are thirsty. In hot temperatures, the risk of dehydration becomes possible. Dehydration is dangerous for dogs—if they become severely dehydrated, they risk heatstroke, shock, organ failure, and even death.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry nose
- Thick sticky saliva
- Sunken eyes
To prevent dehydration:
- Bring plenty of water on hikes and outings
- Offer your dog a drink at least once an hour; more if engaged in exercise.
3: Wildlife and Insect Encounters
When you’re out in nature with your dog, it is important to remember that trees and plants are home to many different animals and insects.
Ticks are out in full force during the spring and summer months and can spread infections like Lyme disease which can be deadly for both humans and dogs.
Bears, snakes, bison, and other wild animals also call Montana home, and you’re more likely to encounter them in the summer months. Run-ins with these animals can have serious consequences for dogs and their owners.
To avoid wildlife and insects:
- Use dog-safe insect repellents recommended by your veterinarian
- Do a tick check after every excursion
- Carry bear spray
- Only allow your dog off leash if they have good recall
- Keep your dog in sight/hearing at all times if off-leash
- If you notice dangerous animals, do your best to keep your dog silent and slowly but swiftly remove yourself from the area.
Best Veterinary Dental Care in Montana
Keeping yourself and your dog safe is the best way to have an excellent summer. By keeping an eye out for potential dangers, you will be able to enjoy many more summers with your furry friend.
Another way to keep your dog safe and healthy is to invest in their dental care. Dental pain can keep your dog from enjoying normal activities like eating, playing, chewing, and exercising. Gum disease and tooth infections can also lead to serious health problems.
Brushing your dog’s teeth every day and scheduling a dental cleaning from a trained veterinarian once a year is the best way to keep their mouth healthy. The experienced team at Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery provides veterinary dental cleanings as well as dental treatments for dogs.
With two convenient offices—one in Missoula and one in Bozeman—we are ready to clean your dog’s teeth any time. Contact us today to make an appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/25/23). Photo by @Chrissy Langston on Unsplash.