We finally have sunny summer weather and everyone is in a hurry to head to the beach with their dogs. Did you know that dogs can get sunburnt? Our furry friends with pale noses and ears are prone to sunburn just like their fair skinned owners. When you have your pets at the beach you may want to consider using a PABA free sunscreen on those sensitive areas to prevent their ultimate discomfort and the long term implications of skin cancer. (Yup they can get skin cancer too). Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Melanomas can develop in dogs (and cats).
Another problem we tend to encounter in the summer at the beach is sand ingestion. So often our dogs are having so much fun chasing sticks or balls that when they scoop them up off the beach they tend to scoop sand as well. Sometimes they just decide to eat sand (who knows why). This can create a big problem as too much sand tends to mix with food and water and can form a very firm substance in the digestive tract. As it passes down the intestinal tract it can cause you dog to become very constipated and result in a trip to the veterinarian. Be vigilant when your your pet is playing. Find a grassy surface for fetch rather than the sand.
On the subject of fetch you also need to be careful what sort of objects you throw for your pets. Long sharp sticks can cause major issues if they land end on and your dog tries to fetch it. I have seen a number of mouth wounds from dogs being impaled on a stick. I have also seen broken teeth from dogs trying to catch rocks, and facial injuries if they miss. Throwing tennis balls is a very common activity among dog owners but did you know that tennis balls are covered in fiberglass? Being a rough material, fiberglass can cause enamel erosion on the teeth which can lead to more rapid onset of dental disease. Using a rubber ball is a better way to play fetch with your dog.
Summer is a great time to play with your pet but let’s just try to play safe. Contrary to what you may think, veterinarians never like to see your pets when injured.