Dangers To Your Pets This Summer

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Atlas and Muse

Dangers To Your Pets This Summer

Lately, as I’m running errands, I’m seeing a lot of dogs in people’s cars.  Don’t get me wrong, I leave mine in there as well.  However, I leave my car running with the AC on.  One of the dangers to your pets this summer, is heat exhaustion.  Cars tend to heat up in the sun very, very quickly.  This poses a real danger to the dogs left inside.

Not only are hot cars a danger to your pets, but dropped food is as well.  Ah, summer, the time of BBQ’s!  Everyone I know has had numerous BBQ’s already.  Which, summer is great for!  But, when we get outside, we tend to not care so much about dropped food.  Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can wind up in BBQ sauces.  It’s also in a lot of candy as well.  Xylitol is extremely poisonous to dogs.

Now, we’ve covered the hot cars, the dropped food, but what about bug bites?  Especially in the South where wasps and ticks are everywhere!  Unfortunately for our pets, ticks carry a lot of disease with them.  You’ll want to protect your pets from them.    Mosquitoes as well.  Unfortunately for dogs, they can carry heart worm and this can be deadly to our pets.

So, let’s get down to some details, shall we?

The Sun Heats the Cars Quickly.

The sun heats the cars everywhere!  Not just the South.  Even in Alaska, the sun still bakes our cars.  While the temperature might only be 60 degrees, no wind, high sun – this leads to an extremely hot car.  But, if you leave the AC on, it’ll keep your car cool.  The problem?  Not a lot of people like to leave their cars running while shopping.

When the sun is out up here, I leave my car running with all the doors locked.  Mind you, I have a push start, otherwise I wouldn’t want to leave my keys in the ignition.  If you have a push button start, try leaving the car running.  Take the key fob with you and just lock the doors when you step out.  I will note, I always check to make sure the doors actually lock though.  Not all push starts will lock the doors with the car running.

Know your vehicle!

Now, what about auto-start?


Most cars have an auto-start feature, especially in Alaska.  I would recommend if you plan on taking your dogs with you, to have this installed in your vehicles.  The only thing with auto-start though, is there’s a time limit.  Generally, 15 minutes is the max time for auto-start.  Not only that, but some only start it twice before it won’t start again.

So, be sure that you know your cars limits with auto-start. Also, be sure that it runs the AC for you and not just the heat.  This way, a quick run to the grocery store won’t harm your dog while they wait for you.  If you don’t have these features, I would leave them at home if you can to protect them from heat stroke or worse.   That, or leave the windows down and water available for them to drink.  But don’t leave them in there long.  A max time of 20 mins should be it.

We’ve covered cars, now let’s talk food!

Dropped Food can Pose a Risk.

We all love a good BBQ, but our dogs can’t always eat what we can.  One type of food that is especially dangerous to dogs is an artificial sweetener, Xylitol.  It’s widely used in a lot of sweeter treats, like candy and gum.  In fact, just 2 pieces of gum containing Xylitol is enough to kill a small dog.

Atlas had a scare not long ago when I thought she got into some gum.  I had to rush her to the ER after inducing vomiting.  The vet had to do check ups on her liver enzymes to be sure she was stable.  All it took was the possibility of her getting into 2 pieces of Trident gum.  The highest amount of Xylitol in any gum.

But that’s not all that contains Xylitol.  It’s also in a lot of desserts as well.  It’s basically a zero-calorie sweetener and companies love to use these.  So, read labels and to be completely safe, don’t bring it in the house!

Now that we’ve covered Xylitol, what other foods are dangerous to your pets?

Other Foods can Pose a Risk.

That’s not all when it comes to food.  Dogs can’t eat chocolate, coffee, alcoholic drinks, garlic, onions and the list goes on.  In fact, some of these foods are so dangerous, they can shut down a dogs organ system in just hours.  High doses of certain foods at once can also cause some major stomach problems for dogs.

Nuts and seeds also pose a risk.  And we all love nuts and seeds, especially at a BBQ.  Did you know that cherry stems are arsenic?  Yup.  They pose a serious risk to dogs.  Grapes and raisins?  Very, very toxic.

So, before you BBQ, especially with friends, make sure they know not to drop food. Or, simply keep your dogs away from the kids table.  All kids love to drop food.  And, if your dogs are like mine, they know to stand right by the young kids.  They always get fed when the young kids are around!

Now that food’s been briefly covered, what about insects?

Insects can Pose a very high Risk.

Summer is here and while we love being outdoors, the insects do, too.  In fact, this is the time they thrive the most!  Wasps are out, bees, ticks and all the other little creatures!  And, what do they love? Well, that depends, but some just love blood! Ticks and mosquitoes both pose dangers to your pets this summer.  Ticks carry Lyme disease and spread it as their head gets embedded in the skin.

Mosquitoes carry heart worm and it’s easily transmitted with a single bite.  Heart worm is fatal to pets if left untreated.  For your pets this summer, be sure to keep them protected with a mosquito repellent, as well as tick and flea protection.  Our pets want to be outside just as much as we do.  But they can’t swat away at pesky mosquitoes, nor do they know when a tick is crawling up their legs.

So, wherever you live, protect them while they’re outdoors.

Final Words on Dangers to your Pets this Summer.

We’ve covered a few topics so far.  Hopefully, you now know more about the dangers to your pets this summer. Keep the car running with the AC on.  Be sure to keep food from dropping on the ground that your dogs can’t eat.  In fact, just try to keep the dogs enclosed in a pen area so they’re safe!   Just during the BBQ’s.

Don’t forget about the tick and flea repellents.  And the mosquito repellent as well!  I don’t know about you, but I know I hate the mosquitoes in Alaska in the summer!  They might as well be the state bird with how big they get!  And the welts they leave on poor Atlas!  I always feel so bad for her when I don’t spray her down first before she runs outside.

Also, if you’re done trekking through the woods with your dogs, check their paws for ticks hiding out.  Ticks love to get in between dog’s toes and stay there until they can get to a better location.  Paws and ears.  Ticks love those 2 spots.

Keep a close eye on your pets this summer.  Make sure they have water, a shady location to go to if they’re stuck outdoors.  If you keep them tied up, make sure they have enough slack to be able to get to shade on those hot days too!

Do you have any suggestions to add?  Let us know in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Dangers To Your Pets This Summer

  1. Hi Katrina,

    This post comes at the perfect time, now that summer is approaching. I live near the Tropic of Cancer and it is warm here all year round, but in the summer it gets super hot. My dogs like to come with me when I go for a drive, but when I go to the store during summer I don’t take them, because I don’t want to leave them in the car, not even for 2 minutes. It’s too hot. I can’t leave the car running with the AC because I don’t have an electric lock, otherwise I would do that too.

    Are all nuts and seeds bad for dogs? I think that chia seeds are actually good for them. I’m not sure if there are any exceptions among nuts?

    The problem with ticks in the summer are usually the neighbors who don’t give their dogs any reppelents, and so their animals get those nasty critters which in turn then crawl into my property … I always give them Bravecto, it works really well. Those ticks are just nasty.
    We didn’t use to have heartworm here, but because many people have driven down here from the US with their dogs, heartworm has spread to these parts too (Baja, Mexico). A vet recently told me that, so I should also get something to prevent heartworm.
    Thanks for these great tips!
    Your dogs are beautiful!

    1. Hi Christine,

      Not very many nuts or seeds are okay for dogs to eat. Shelled sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flaxseed are about it I’m afraid. But in all honesty, I just don’t give my dogs any of those. I actually rarely give them human foods anyways, just to be safe. We eat natural, whole foods now, but I still don’t like the idea of giving them too many things. I always have to google it first to be sure, and sometimes, I still don’t feel comfortable.
      I try to just stick with their dog food brand that I stand by 100%, the Wellness RawRev with the healthy grains. I did buy them some eggs, even though we stopped eating eggs in the house. But Muse has really dry skin, so I put raw egg on their dog food last night to help with that. Eggs and bacon grease (small quantities) help with their skin fast! Other than that, I don’t give them much. Treats for training, greenies, that’s about it.

      I’ve had a lot of dogs in the past that simply can’t handle human food, and then I had Annie who passed last year that could eat anything. And I mean anything! But Muse and Atlas are more sensitive, so it’s better to just abstain from giving them human food I think. Okay, except apples. And pumpkin. Shoot, okay, I give them lots of veggies! Carrots, etc. They love carrots!

      I guess I should just say I don’t give them odd things….But yes, you’re right. Chia and flax and sunflower is good for them. But peanuts are too high in fat. Cashews are fine in moderation.

      As for leaving them at home when going to the store, that’s the best bet. I take mine everywhere too, but I don’t like being in the store too long. I’m lucky that I have the push start, so I can leave it running and lock the doors. But I always blast that AC full power for them. They love it! It’s always nice and cold when I get back into the car.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading!


  2. Currently I don’t have any pets, but I was a pet owner for many years having both dogs and cats. I had no Idea that Xylitol was so harmful to pets. And I did chew a lot of trident gum as well, but mostly at work. I must have been lucky they didn’t get into any of it. My son has some pets, and I will definitely let him know about it.

    I know people don’t realize how fast cars heat up in the sun, and it is dangerous. Not everyone lets the air conditioner run while their pets are left in the car. But, most do let the windows halfway down, which helps a lot.

    I like your advice on tick and flea spray for your pets. The ticks are so much worse now than they were years ago.
    Thank you for all the helpful tips on pets, I will share them.

    1. Awesome! Definitely share with your son so he knows the dangers as well. I’m hoping this will reach a lot of people and they’ll be weary of leaving dogs in the cars.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading this article though!


  3. Hey Katrina,

    The summer in the UK is looking like it’s going to be a scorcher, which is a great thing. But, as you say for our pets this can be dangerous. So, we need to take all the precautions we can to keep them safe.

    I am going to share this article with my friends who have pets as they need to take this seriously. I will advise them to get in touch with you if they have any burning questions or issues.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work you do.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks Tom! I thought we were going to have a great summer with the way it started, but it’s looking like a standard Alaskan summer so far. Temps only reaching about 70 degrees for a warm day. And I’m fine with that honestly. If it gets too hot up here, we all suffer! Alaska just doesn’t have a lot of AC to help cool things down, though businesses are getting better about it finally.

      Yes! Share this with friends so that they’re aware as well.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. Hi Katrina,

    The first photo just caught my eyeballs, and they are adorable. It’s so hard to say “NO!” when they look at you with those puppy eyes, and it’s also hard to hear them crying when you lock them at home for some errands.

    For this article, it’s quite educational to learn all the potential dangers to our dogs this summer. The heat in the car, the dangerous food, and the worms are all threats to our pets’ health. That’s why I found your article full of valuable information. Thanks again for sharing. I would try to share with my friends who have dogs before summer days.


    1. Thanks Matt,

      I try to get as much information in one article that’s important like this one, in there as much as I can. It is a lot, but it’s pretty basic stuff for our dogs in the heat of the summer. I see a lot of dogs in cars panting away with no AC on and no windows down. When it’s even 65 degrees out, but sunny, it’s too hot for them. They suffer quickly and can get heat stroke vert fast. Best to just leave them at home if you can’t leave the AC on for them. At least, I think so!

      I’m glad you found this useful! Thanks for stopping by!


  5. yes we agree with you on this 100% we had a scare just yesterday and we had our dog out in the mountains for two days straight.
    It was hot and the sun was powerful, she is a wild dog so she has to be told to sit down all the time and told more than once.
    Yesterday we came home and woke up to our dog shaking like she is drunk but she is not and not eating.
    We looked at her she was fine no ticks or anything.
    We took her a bath and gave her treatment she still did. it.
    We then found out that she had heatstroke due to the extreme weather, we literally had to put water down her throat and make her drink. We did give her as much water as possible and did not even know that she had heatstroke. She looked so confused when I knew she could not eat her vitamin in the morning we knew that something was wrong with her. She slept all day and now she is back to normal she scared us and had to act quickly organs will start to shut down. Did not even know that she did not drink enough water throughout the day we feel bab but we acted quickly. This guide to taking care of your dogs in the summertime is perfect right now for dog lovers and owners.


    1. Mathew & Deloris,

      That’s pretty scary actually. I’m glad she’s better though. Some dogs will suffer severe brain damage if they get heat stroke, so I’m glad she’s eating and drinking and seems fine now. That’s just the thing, it can happen really fast and most people aren’t even aware of it. Cars are the most dangerous place for dogs to be in the heat of the summer. In Alaska, we also have to worry about the winters too when they’re too cold on certain days. I’m simply used to leaving my car running while I’m in the store. We have to do it all winter, and all summer, so it’s just natural for us now.

      As far as hiking for 2 days, hopefully next time you bring more water. You should also look into the cooling vests they have for dogs. They soak up water, and keep the dog cool on hot days. To make it cool again, once it’s dry, you simply soak it with cold water again, ring it out and then put it on them. It helps to keep the sun off of them, as well as the coolness of the water during the heat of the day.

      I hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad your dog is okay!!


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