Summertime is here and with it comes trips to the lake, camping adventures, barbeques, and a plethora of outdoor family activities. Of course, as Great Dane parents, we want to include our four-legged children as often as possible in our Summer activities. The important thing to remember is that Summertime presents many dangerous situations for our pets, some less apparent than others.
We are all aware of the dangers of hot car interiors and dehydration, but there are other dangers lurking in the midst of Summer. Here are three less obvious dangers that you should be aware of when including your Great Dane in the Summer adventures.
Asphalt and pavement soak up a lot of Summer sunshine and these surfaces can get extremely hot. Even concrete sidewalks are known to reach scorching temperatures on hot summer days. These surfaces can wreak havoc on your Great Dane’s sensitive footpads.
Asphalt temperatures have been measured at 40 to 60 degrees hotter than the surrounding air. That means that even a mild 75-degree day can result in asphalt temperatures of 115 to 135 degrees. Spending just a few minutes on a surface that hot can result in serious burns. In fact, at 125-degrees your pooch’s paws can get burned in a matter of seconds.
Your Dane’s footpads are typically no thicker than your own skin and are just as sensitive to extreme temperatures. Before allowing your Dane to walk on any potentially hot surface place the back of your hand on the surface for a full seven seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for Fido.
Spiders and Snakes
During the Summer months, spiders and snakes are much more active, and depending on where you live, some of these critters can be deadly. If you live in an area where poisonous snakes and venomous spiders are present, it is important that you know how to identify potentially dangerous situations and what to do if your Dane is bitten.
Fortunately, most snake bites are non-venomous but that does not mean they won’t cause complications for your pet. Even non-venomous bites can cause pain and swelling and can lead to infection if not treated. The same is true of spider bites. Still, the real concern is with venomous animals like black widows and rattlesnakes. If you have reason to believe that your Dane was bitten by a venomous snake or spider, get them to the vet right away.
When the mercury rises there is nothing more refreshing than a dip in the lake, the swimming pool, or the ocean. For many Great Danes, the cooling effects of these bodies of water are too much to resist. And while there is nothing wrong with letting your Dane take a cooling dip, there are dangers that you should be aware of.
Swimming pools typically contain large quantities of either salt or chlorine, neither of which is good for your Great Dane. While ingesting small amounts of pool water will likely not hurt them, large amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, without proper supervision, the pool itself can present a potential drowning hazard for your pup. Make sure that your Dane knows how to exit the pool safely and never leave them unsupervised near any body of water.
Lakes, Ponds, and Rivers
Freshwater recreation typically does not pose a threat of salt or chlorine ingestion, but there are potential dangers in these bodies of water as well. Stagnant bodies of freshwater are breeding grounds for algae which can be potentially dangerous for your Dane. Dogs can be poisoned when they drink from or swim in contaminated water sources. Blue-green algae can cause severe neurologic or liver damage if ingested.
Rivers pose additional threats as they can hide deceptive currents that can quickly overwhelm even the strongest swimmers and can make rescue extremely difficult. If you are going to play near a river or stream, be sure that you know the topology and the potential dangers. For instance, not knowing that there is a waterfall 100 yards downstream, can present a potentially life-threatening situation for you and your Dane. Never allow your Dane to enter fast-moving rivers and always consider a canine floatation device when recreating near these bodies of water.