Summertime Safety!

Summer is finally here! We talked about heat stroke in a recent post, but there a re a number of other issues to be aware of now that the heat is on, kids are out of school and the parties are on. While we at District Veterinary Hospital are busy choosing furniture and seeing housecalls, your pup and family are playing outside, going to the beach, having a bbq, or living life in the heat.

In no particular order, we bring to light a few summer (and even year-round) hazards in addition to heat to monitor:


Parties are fun, but they are filled with lots of food, hot grills (more later on grills), people who do not have dogs or are not paying attention to the dog or cat, kids who may not have experience with pets, pools and a host of other hazards. Always remind all gusts that you have pets, and if you have cats that are not allowed outdoors, be certain to have them in a safe area of the house, cordoned off from guests. Parties are one of the most frequent ways cats and dogs get out of houses / yards and become lost. Instruct guests to not feed the dog and keep all food out of reach of the pup. If kids come over, be certain their parents have instructed them on how to behave around a dog – or if needed, keep them separate from the dog or cat.


The scent of a good bbq is irresistible for a dog. They will jump on a grill and burn themselves. Also, be careful that the grill is firmly planted on the ground – grills have fallen over and burned or crushed dogs (even big dogs – we’ve seen it). Dispose of any hot coals – or even cold coals – far away from access to dogs as well.

The Pool

Not all dogs swim. Remember that. They can readily wander into a pool and even drown. Another routine summer hazard.


Many dogs are scared of fireworks and here in the District, we have lots of them going off before and after the Fourth of July. Dogs may run through screen doors or windows when scared by fireworks. We have seen dogs be scared by fireworks and run away by being spooked. We should also note, keep dogs inside or on a leash should you be lighting fireworks. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop a dog from grabbing the firework before it explodes!

Bugs, snakes, you name it

Those of us who work at District Veterinary Hospital have seen our fair share of bug / rodent / snake – related injuries. Mosquitoes are a problem, but bug spray is not safe for dogs or cats (especially cats). If mosquitoes are bugging you, they are buzzing the dog, too. Also remember fleas and ticks – use approved topical preventives – you can always ask us for our recommendations. In the District / Maryland / Virginia area, we have copperhead snakes. If you see one, leash your dog and avoid it. DO NOT APPROACH THE SNAKE. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO KILL THE SNAKE. Should your dog be bitten, seek emergency care as soon as possible.


Similar to fireworks, many dogs are afraid of thunderstorms, even if far away. Take similar precautions as with fireworks. Please see our previous post about thunderstorms on our Facebook page.

Retractable Leashes

For many reasons, we are against retractable leashes. We will have a whole post on why, but here’s the skinny: they are too long to prevent dogs from being hit by cars, they allow dog-dog interactions that are not desired, they can give you severe cuts on your fingers, and more.

Play it safe. And remember, if you have any questions, please ask us anytime.


District Veterinary Hospital


© District Veterinary Hospital, 2014

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.