The summer months welcome outdoor fun, vacations with loved ones, and parties on the patio. This time of the year is perfect to enjoy pet-friendly activities including chasing frisbees, swimming, running, hiking, and so much more.

With spring and summer also comes an increased need to be aware of the risk to your four-legged pals of injury, sunstroke, and water-related dangers. The COVE is here to help you keep those made in the shade moments special and avoid a trip to the animal emergency hospital.

Surf’s Up! Pet Safety around Water

As the temperatures and humidity index rise, our thoughts naturally turn to water. Water recreation may mean enjoying time in the backyard pool, boating on the ocean, or traveling to a favorite lakeside destination. Whatever you choose, when pets are around, extra precaution must be observed. If your pet isn’t comfortable swimming, we suggest swimming lessons or a slow introduction to it in a shallow pool.

Always outfit your pet with a fitted life vest, even while on a boat.

Realize that not all animals like water or can swim. Be mindful of how your pet feels about it.

Boat decks and sand get as hot as asphalt and can cause third-degree burns on your pet’s paw pads. Cover feet with booties or stay on grassy areas with shade.

Even when your pet has access to water, shade is imperative. If there are no trees, provide your own shade with umbrellas and portable sun shades.

Always supervise your pet when swimming or around large bodies of water and bring them in if they start to get tired, or after 20 minutes of swimming.

Heatstroke and Hot Weather Dangers

Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer regulate the internal temperature. This usually occurs when a pet is locked in a small enclosure (such as a vehicle), or when they cannot get access to shade (such as being tied up outside). It can also happen when a pet becomes overheated from vigorous exercise.  Heat stroke often happens when pets haven’t yet acclimated to the higher outside temperatures, so even physically fit dogs can experience this at change of the seasons. Heatstroke is a serious medical emergency and can lead to death if untreated.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Increased drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Pale gums
  • Warm to the touch
  • Disorientation
  • Collapse

It’s important to respond immediately by moving your pet to a cool location and take their temperature. Then apply a passive cooling processes (running cool (not cold!) water over them and cooling them down with a fan) until body temperature is 103 degrees then STOP there to avoid hypothermia. It is vital to closely monitor their body temp and restart the process if temperature rises again before you receive medical attention.

Have someone stay with your pet and call your veterinarian. Offer small amounts of water frequently and transport your pet in an air-conditioned vehicle to your veterinarian or animal emergency hospital. If you believe your pet might have suffered a heat stroke you can call us here at The COVE, 757-935-9111.

Sprains, Tears, and Other Injuries

What energetic pet doesn’t love to run after a ball, play a rough game of tug-of-war, run alongside its favorite human, or have a day on a beautiful trail? Most of our pets enjoy the same recreational opportunities we enjoy, but they aren’t always good at gauging their level of ability or stopping when they’re fatigued.

Cruciate ligament tears and sprains are common this time of year. Games like flag football and ultimate frisbee can be fun for your four-legged, as is a game of chase through an off-leash park. Just be sure that your pet is healthy enough for such a challenge and monitor it during the activity. If it appears tired, stop and rest.

Make sure all games and activities are within an enclosed yard or in natural areas where the threat of a car accident is minimized. Accidents with pets and vehicles are also more common when the weather warms up, so use caution and supervise your pet when outside, and keep him or her on a leash when on walks.

Summertime fun with your pet can be achieved with a bit of planning and awareness.

The COVE is OPEN 24/7 – All Summer – and All Year Long  

If you are here in the Suffolk/Norfolk region, you can trust in the care of our Emergency Department, led by Jacqueline Nobles, DVM, DACVECC, a board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care. The COVE is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are located at 6550 Hampton Roads Pkwy, #113, Suffolk, VA. We welcome your call anytime, day or night, at 757-935-9111.

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.