Warm Weather Hazards
Updated: Feb 8
The spring and summer months are full of hazards for our dogs, from toxic plants to blood-sucking pests and even increased trash and other hazards outside. So you want to make sure you’re aware of the hazards that exist in your area, though the most common are fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes (though these aren't restricted to warm weather).
There are many plants that are toxic to our dogs, including pretty flowers that you may have planted in your garden. If you’re not sure if a plant is toxic or not, check out the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants. There are too many to list here, so keep the ASPCA’s link handy when you’re preparing to plant anything in your garden, especially if your dog has easy access to it (and a short fence is still easy to get over, even if your dog would normally never do that).
Fleas live in the wild, on many different species of animals (ever seen the animated movies that show rats with small black dots jumping off of them?). Their preferred habitat is tall grasses, sand, or anywhere else that is shaded and humid. They can transfer to your dog from other species in the wild or even into your home via crawl spaces that other small mammals may climb around in.
The most common ways of preventing fleas are flea collars, topical flea killer, and edible flea killer. In general, flea collars are great for protecting around the neck and upper body, but they don’t necessarily cover the whole dog. Topicals can work well (and generally work against ticks, too), but a dog shouldn’t be bathed within 2-3 days of having it applied and shouldn’t be in contact with children or other pets until it’s fully-dried (which can be hard if you have other pets or children in the house). I personally use the edibles, which can be given either every 1 or 3 months, depending on the brand, and generally protect from fleas and ticks.
There is more than one type of tick, but they generally like dark and damp locations and there’s a chance of dangerous diseases being caused by tick bites, including Lyme Disease, Canine Ehrlichiosis, Canine Anaplasmosis, and more. So you want to make absolutely sure you protect your dog from ticks as well as the diseases they can carry. Most topical and edible medications that deal with fleas also deal with ticks, but you want to make sure that it’s not just going to affect your dog after the tick would bite.
Mosquitoes are another carrier of various diseases, though heartworm disease is the one that is most easily preventable via a monthly edible. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so making sure that you don’t have any places with standing water, like a birdbath, is important for both you and your dog.