Summertime Pet Hazards

What are fox tails?

Fox tails are small plant awns or seed packets of grass plants.

These spear shaped plant pieces are notorious for getting stuck in ears and between toes of dogs. If these plant pieces get stuck - they often will migrate further into the body like a tiny, horrible torpedo. Fox tails then cause infection and pain. By the time owners notice there is a problem - fox tails are VERY hard to find! So, if you see a field with fox tails - avoid these areas!

Barbeque Hazards

Summertime brings a lot of outdoor fun and company for BBQ in the back yard. Your dog may love all the friends to play with and the great smells from the grill. However, keep in mind that you MUST watch your pet closely! Over the years I have encountered a few BBQ hazards:

Drippings from the grill. This is a favorite for dogs but this extra fat may lead to pancreatitis which is a potentially fatal condition of inflammation of the pancreas. There is no medication that can be given for this condition - only supportive care (Intravenous fluids, antacids, anti-vomiting medications etc.)

Skewers have also been a cause for death in dogs in the back yard. I recall a case of a Rottweiler that came through the ICU while I was an intern in the South that had grabbed the whole skewer and swallowed it all! This sharp stick went all the way through the stomach and out his side. This dog had a tough fight for his life.

Corn Cobs on the grill also can cause problems. If a piece of the cob gets stuck in the small intestine it can result in a costly surgery, but more importantly could be fatal in the worst circumstances.

While we think that none of these will happen to our own pets - I have seen them all over the years in practice. So it makes sense to be aware and keep an eye on your pet while they are enjoying the summer time with you!

Heat Stroke

While running and playing with your dog outside - be aware of the heat. ESPECIALLY those dogs with short noses (brachycephalic breeds) such as English Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers etc. Dogs dissipate heat primarily through panting -- and the shorter the faces, this can be difficult. When it is very hot outside consider waiting until evening to play with your pet. Also, cars get VERY hot in a short period of time so NEVER leave your pet in the car unattended - even if the window is slightly open. When a pet gets over heated the body starts to shut down and many times this condition is fatal.

What do I do if my dog has heat stroke?

Get some wet towels on your pet and quickly get them into the car with air conditioning and go straight to Newport Harbor Animal Hospital or your local emergency clinic if it is after hours for emergency treatment. Intravenous fluids will be needed along with other testing and treatment.

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