Sully Animal Hospital | Centreville Virginia - Summer Pet Safety Tips

Sully Animal Hospital

5095 Westfields Blvd
Centreville, VA 20120


Summer Pet Safety Tips

We want you and your four-legged family member to have an enjoyable and safe summer!




Planning Ahead


While kicking off the start of your summer with backyard barbecues, get-togethers, summer getaways, and beach trips keep in mind that it’s important to plan ahead for your pet. Whether you’re taking a pet along on a trip or they’re experiencing the summer heat, the added stimuli of being around guests can also put your pet in potentially harmful situations. Here are some tips to help keep your four-legged family member safe and as relaxed as possible while you both enjoy traveling, long weekends, and summer’s beautiful weather.


Heatstroke Outdoors

Our pets know all about those hot summer days! This means an increased risk of dehydration and heatstroke! Heatstroke can be deadly, even with aggressive therapy and treatment. Exercising outdoors is great for you and your pet but could also be very dangerous. If the temperature plus humidity added together are greater than 150, it’s too hot for your dog! For example, if the temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level is 80%, then the total is 155.

Exercise during non-peak heat hours, very early in the morning or late in the evening. Most importantly, if you notice your dog is showing early signs of heatstroke, stop and take a break. Get your dog some water. When in doubt, walk him or her home. Always provide shade, water and never exercise them during the hottest part of the day.


Cars & Extreme Heat

Don’t leave your pet in a parked vehicle alone. A car’s temperature can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows cracked on warm days. For instance, on a 78-degree day, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! This can also cause heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke include vomiting, lethargy, excessive panting, collapse, diarrhea, progressing to bloody diarrhea, bruising, difficulty breathing, and death. If your pet is showing any of these signs, do not put cold water on them as it will cause them to go into shock. Call Sully Animal Hospital at 703-956-6290 or Prince William Emergency Veterinary Clinic at 703-361-8287 immediately if your pet is showing these signs.


Insect Bites or Bee Stings

Any insect or spider can cause problems if it bites or stings your pet. A bite or sting can cause swelling, redness, and itching. Some pets can have an allergic reaction to a sting or bite that may result in mild hives, facial swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or even collapse. If your pet is showing any of these signs, do not hesitate to call Sully Animal Hospital at 703-956-6290 or Prince William Emergency Veterinary Clinic at 703-361-8287.


Food from Guests or Strangers

Don’t let people feed your pet. If your pet is out and about during this summer or on a trip, your guests may be tempted to sneak them a bite. It is important to keep your pet on their regular diet. New foods could not only be toxic (onions, raisins, grapes, and avocado) to them but may cause an upset stomach and digestive system (vomiting and diarrhea).


Garbage & Animal Bones

Keep your pet and garbage separate. Holiday parties and get-togethers often lead to trash bags full of bones and other unsafe items that are extremely attractive to pets. If your pet chews on real bones, especially cooked bones, which break more easily, bones and bone fragments may become lodged in their palate, esophagus, stomach, or intestines, causing pain and frequently requiring surgery. Bones can even pierce their digestive tracts and cause a severe life-threatening abdominal infection called peritonitis.


Bug Spray & Sunscreen

Avoid insect repellents and sunscreens unless they are specifically made for pets. You may think it’s a good idea to keep bugs away and keep your pet safe in the sun, but these products are harmful to pets unless they are specifically for them. When ingested, it can cause your pet to be sick.


Alcoholic Beverages

Do not allow your pet to consume alcohol. Alcohol can harm your pet’s mental wellbeing and respiratory system. Pets consuming alcohol can seem lighthearted at the moment, but it is very serious. If your pet consumes alcohol, do not hesitate to call Sully Animal Hospital at 703-956-6290 or Prince William Emergency Veterinary Clinic at 703-361-8287 immediately.


Lighters & Lighter Fluid

Keep your pet away from any matches, lighters, lighter fluids, and citronella candles. Grilling is popular for all families and gatherings. However, the items listed above are toxic if ingested and could cause serious problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these things, please contact Sully Animal Hospital at 703-956-6290 or Prince William Emergency Veterinary Clinic at 703-361-8287 immediately.


Stressful Environments

Provide your pet with a cool, quiet place to rest. It can be exhausting for your cat or dog to keep up with all of the activities of the day, so it’s important to have an accessible place for them to relax. They may be disturbed by noise, so the area must be in a quiet place.


Risks of Running Away

Keep gates and fences closed. A spooked dog or cat can easily hop a 6-foot fence, so save yourself the trouble of tracking down a runaway pet by closing all gates and fences and making sure they are latched. It may be a good idea to remind guests of this as well.


Firework Displays

Do not take your pet near any firework displays. No matter how calmly your pet is with loud noises and thunder, fireworks are considerably louder and scarier and often provoke unpredictable reactions. Even small quiet fireworks could burn your pet, who may come to close, attracted by the glittering light.


Other Dangers to Watch Out For

Glow Jewelry: Do not use glow jewelry to decorate or play with your pet. It may look cute, but glow jewelry contains toxins your pet should not eat.

Car Etiquette: No heads hanging out the window while your vehicle is moving. Although many pets find that sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it’s simply not safe. Your pet can become injured by flying debris. This should go without saying but never travel with a pet in the back of a pickup truck.

Frequent Pit Stops/Potty Breaks: Always provide frequent potty and exercise breaks. Don’t forget to bring a bag and pick up after your pet. Also, make sure your pet has a leash, collar, and ID/Rabies tags.

Proper Hydration: Provide your pet with fresh water. Traveling can upset your pet’s stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on a pet’s stomach than large amounts of water.

Food Intake: Watch the food intake. Keep feeding to a minimum during warmer weather and travel. Make sure to keep them on their regular diet as fast food items can cause an upset stomach.

Proper Vehicle Restraints: Be sure that your pet is properly restrained in the vehicle for their safety and yours. There are different types of restraints available like harnesses, carriers, barriers for SUVs, and car seats. Whichever method you choose to restrain your pet in the vehicle properly, be sure to make their comfort a priority.

**Friendly reminder to keep all pet ID and rabies tags on your dog or cat with your current contact information and keeping them current on Frontline and Heartgard for parasite prevention. **