Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pet Dangers at the Beach

Roanoke Island Animal Clinic
Visiting the Beach with your pet can be a really great experience. Many pets have never seen the sand and the surf before and are amazed at how much fun it can be playing in them.

But visiting the beach with your pet does pose a few special dangers.

The Sand: dogs explore with their mouth. Unfortunately some dogs consume while exploring. A little sand is ok, but too much can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration. If your pet is vomiting with frequent non-resolving diarrhea, take them to a local veterinarian. By the way, sand can also cause a very serious impaction of the gi tract too requiring aggressive veterinary care to soften it up to pass.

Salt Water: Like the sand, too much salt water can cause some nasty gi problems. The salt "sucks" the amimal's fluids into the gi tract causing sometimes serious vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

Poisonous Critters: Yes, there are a few dangerous animals and spiders that live around here.
The Cottonmouth, rattlesnake and Copperhead are poisonous snakes that live among the marsh and rocky levees. Relax, the snakes want to stay away from us too, but a nosey dog or cat can get bit putting his nose in places it's better off not being.
The Black Widow and Brow Recluse spiders live in this area too. Be aware if you are overturning old logs or yard equipment that hasn't been moved for a season or more.
Oleander is a very toxic plant that is planted for it's beauty around the Outer Banks just like anywhere else. Do not allow your dog or cat to chew on ANY of this deadly plant.

The Ocean: The currents can be just as dangerous to a child as a dog that is not used to swimming. Keep a close eye on your friend just as you would your child.

The Heat: Heat prostration and heat stroke are all too common. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water and shade. It only takes a few minutes for a large breed dog to overheat. Older and younger dogs are even more susceptible. NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN YOUR CAR DURING EVEN WARM WEATHER.

Jelly Fish: While not as big of a concern then their furless owners, if your dogs bite a jelly fish, they can get some nasty oral burns.

Antifreeze: Like many resort areas in the summer, there can be lots of this chemical leaking from radiators. It has a sweet taste that cats and dogs like but it is very deadly. If your pet consumes some, seek a veterinarian immediately.

Identification: Your pet is in a strange area. Please make sure they have proper identification if they become separated from you. Mico-chipping is an excellent way to ensure your pet is permanently identified at most veterinary clinics and animal shelters.

Fish Hooks: I never thought I'd be removing so many fish hooks from the mouths of pets until I began practicing on the Outer Banks. It amazes me how fast a dog can get themselves hooked going after casting bait. Try to keep your pet clear while fishing.

Mark Grossman, DVM, MS
Roanoke Island Animal Clinic

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