• Chappelle Small Animal Hospital: Fort Collins Vet Services


Client Education Articles

Hazards of Summer

Outdoor Adventures:

The summer is a great time for the entire family to enjoy the outdoors. Be sure to keep your pet on a leash, for their safety as well as the safety of other animals they may encounter. Always be on the lookout for wildlife, especially rattlesnakes, porcupines, and skunks.


Be careful when taking your pets with you while fishing. The bait that you use may tempt the fish, but you may also hook your pet. If your pet does have an encounter with a fishhook, be sure not to try to pull the fishing line-it may cause the hook to go deeper into the tissue. Contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Avoid exercising your pet during the middle of the day. Be sure to take plenty of water along for both you and your pet. Use caution when exercising older dogs and puppies, they may try to do more than they can comfortably handle.

Snake Bites:

Rattlesnake venom destroys tissue, interferes with blood clotting, and can damage internal organs. Snakes can strike from a distance of 1/2 their body length, so if you encounter a snake, back away from it. Snake bites should always be considered an emergency and you should take your pet to a veterinarian, immediately.

Signs of heatstroke:

Panting, staring, anxious expression, refusal to obey commands, warm/dry skin, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting and collapse.

Be sure to use a tick repellent on your pet. Watch for bee stings, mosquitos, and flies that may infest an open wound.


Cars can be an especially dangerous place for pets during hot summer days. Outdoor temperatures may seem cooler than in cars where the temperature can rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit within just a few minutes. Even with the windows cracked, the car can become an oven and cause your pet to have a heat emergency. Contact the vet immediately if you think your pet is overheating.


Remember that gatherings can be enticing to pets too- they may try to sneak food or drinks when no one is looking! These "goodies" may seem harmless to us but they can in fact be very detrimental to our pet's health. Table scraps can lead to bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. The high fat content of some dishes can cause abdominal pain and even pancreatitis in some pets. Even having Fido near the BBQ can be cause for warning- ash from the charcoal, lighter fluid, and even the grease from the cooked food can lead to sever stomach irritation or a skin burn.


Pools - Be sure your pet can swim before planning on taking them with you to the water slowly so you can tell how they will react to the water. Don't leave your pet unattended while near pools in case something goes wrong. When everyone is done, be sure to rinse your dog off well so the chlorine and other chemicals don't irritate the skin.

Boating - Before the next big boating trip or fishing excursion, be sure everyone- including Fido- has a life jacket.

Drinking - Don't let Fido drink from the pool- there are a lot of chemicals in the water that may upset his stomach. Also, keep Fido away from the pond and stream water- there may be bacteria and parasites that can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, such as Giardia and Leptospirosis.