Practice summer safety for pets

Community Columnist

— Driveway trauma: In the “dog days” of summer, our pets often find cool spots in the shade of our vehicles. Geriatric animals with hearing loss can be especially at risk and unaware of a car starting. There are few things as sad as a guilt-ridden owner bringing their pet to the hospital having run over it in the driveway. Don’t assume your pets will get out of the way. Check under, behind and around the car, and beep the horn before putting the car in drive. When returning home, your pets may be so happy to see you they don’t get out of the way, so proceed with care.

— Over-heating (Hyperthermia): Remember that the interior of a car or pickup truck cab can become very warm extremely quickly on a summer’s day. Body temperatures of 105 to 108 degrees are not unusual. If an animal is left unattended for even a short time, hyperthermia can be very damaging or fatal. Leaving windows open may not prevent development of dangerous temperatures. Don’t leave your pets unattended inside your vehicle.

— Lawnmower mold: For reasons known only to dogs, some of our canine friends find the clumps of grass from under our lawnmowers very tasty. Some molds grow on this grass and produce poisons called mycotoxins, which can cause severe illness when ingested. Symptoms can be as mild as vomiting and diarrhea, or as severe as liver or kidney failure, seizures and death. Be careful when you clean out the underside of your lawnmower deck. Dispose of the scrapings or put them out of reach of your dog. If your dog finds the lawnmower interesting, house it where he can’t nibble on the green and white stuff stuck to it.

Compost piles can also prove interesting to dogs, but again, the substances created by molds or fermentation can be dangerous when eaten.

Have a wonderful and safe summer with your pets. If this article leaves you with question or concerns, your veterinarian is a great resource.

Jerry Kolb DVM is and Cazenovia resident and co-owner of the Cazenovia Animal Hospital, where he has practiced since his graduation from Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. He can be reached at 655-3409.

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