Tips from Your Veterinarian: Summer Pet Safety

Here in Denver in the summertime, what better place is there to be than outdoors? Aside from the beautiful views and warm weather, there’s plenty of nature to enjoy, especially the flowers. However, before you take your dog for a hike in the foothills, consider your likelihood of encountering poisonous plants. Larkspur and lupines are gorgeous violet-hued blooms that sprout in the mountain meadows, and as nice as they are to look at, they’re also extremely poisonous. And the heat might not seem so oppressive now, but how will your dog be holding up in the next one to two hours?

Summer brings with it a variety of hazards, for both people and pets. Heat, poisonous plants, parasites, and wildlife abound during this mild season, and it’s your responsibility to ensure your pet’s well-being.

Summer Pet Safety in Denver: Dog Drinking From Water Dish

Summer Pet Safety in Denver: Dog Drinking From Water Bottle

Summer Pet Safety Tips

  • Make sure your pet always has access to plenty of shade, fresh, clean water, and shelter from the elements if they’re spending extended periods outside
  • Keep a lookout for the following poisonous plants around your property and along hiking trails:
    • Lupines
    • Larkspur
    • Western water hemlock (rare, but very dangerous)
    • Locoweed
    • Poison ivy, oak, and sumac
    • Autumn crocus
    • Holly
  • Schedule your dog’s walks for the early morning or evening hours when it’s cooler
  • Avoid walking your dog on asphalt or other surfaces
  • Never, ever leave them unattended in a parked vehicle—even with the windows rolled down, the interior of a car can go from 80 degrees to 100 in a matter of minutes
  • Make sure your pet is up-to-date on their vaccinations and is current on their flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives
  • If coyotes frequent the area in which you live, do not leave your pet outside unattended, especially in the evenings
  • Keep your pet away from standing puddles of water and don’t let them drink out of lakes—the water is full of bacteria, and could contain leptospirosis

In Case of Emergency

If you suspect that your pet has consumed a poisonous plant or is suffering from heatstroke (symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, seizures), call our animal hospital at (720) 503-9559. If your pet’s emergency takes place outside our business hours, go to our emergency care page and contact one of our referral hospitals immediately.