Dog and hiker in stream.

Nice weather is finally arriving in the great state of Minnesota, and at The Bluffs Pet Clinic we are excited to venture outdoors with our four-legged friends. As we head out hiking, swimming, camping, and otherwise enjoying nature, though, it is important to keep pet safety in mind. 

Great Dangers in the Great Outdoors

When considering the outdoors with our pets, there are many wonderful things to enjoy. Long nature walks, fishing excursions, and cookouts with friends are the things memories are made of.

There are dangers that lurk within summer activities, though, and as pet owners, it is important for us to recognize them so that we can enjoy the outdoors and avoid trouble. 

Common outdoor pet safety concerns include:

The Heat—When temperatures rise, we are all at risk for things like heat stroke. Dogs, with their thick coats and limited ability to sweat, can be at particular risk. Walking on hot surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, or sand can also pose a threat to tender paws. 

Parasites—We aren’t the only creatures that enjoy the summer weather. Ectoparasites like fleas and ticks are prevalent during the warmer months and mosquito-borne diseases such as heartworm disease are also a concern. Intestinal parasites may also be present in the soil or standing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter. 

Leptospirosis—A bacterial disease transmitted in urine, lepto can be contracted by our pets when it comes into contact with the mucous membranes. It can cause serious liver or kidney damage and is also zoonotic (affecting both humans and animals).

The water—Swimming can be fun, but fast-moving water can pose a danger for pets. Lakes or ponds can also be a threat for pets who are not good swimmers or cannot find their way out of the water. Standing water can harbor bacteria or other parasites and does not make good drinking water and may also cause irritation to the skin and coat. Also beware of blue-green algae blooms

Other animals—There are plenty of other animal friends that occupy the great outdoors, and they may not be so eager to share their space with your pet. We do share our state with a few venomous snakes like the Timber Rattlesnake and Eastern Massasauga. Mammals such as raccoons or coyotes may also be up for a fight if threatened. 

Pet Safety Preparedness

Not to worry, though! With some preparation and knowledge, the fun and enjoyable parts of the outdoors far outweigh any concerns. A little pet safety preparedness can go a long way.

Be sure to:

  • Bring along a small pet first aid kit on outdoor adventures
  • Be mindful of the heat and take steps to avoid heat exhaustion
  • Bring along fresh, clean water and offer to your pet often
  • Check to be sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations like rabies and leptospirosis
  • Provide good parasite prevention for things like ticks, fleas, heartworms, and intestinal parasites
  • Practice good water safety
  • Do not allow your pet to drink or swim in standing water or that with algae blooms
  • Do not allow your pet to harass or chase wildlife
  • Limit sharing people food with your pet to avoid an upset tummy

If you have any questions about how to best prepare your pet to enjoy the outdoors this season, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help you to enjoy yourself no matter what your summer plans. Pet safety and the great outdoors go hand in hand, and with a little planning you can be sure that you and your pet have a great time.