Believe it or not, flu season is here and can harm your beloved canine.
According Hilton Head vet Tracy Duffner, possible symptoms include dogs with fever, lethargy and limited activity, and, most alarming, a cough.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Island Packet
The illness is a scary reminder that danger lurks everywhere and dog owners should take extra precautions during the hot, dog days of summer.
Here are five problems dogs can run into this summer and how to protect them:
1. Check for fleas and ticks
Summertime is bug season and certain parasites love to call your pooch’s bum home.
An obvious sign something’s wrong with Spot or Lucky is excessive scratching on various part of their body, especially the head.
Of course, if it’s bad enough you can literally see fleas jump off your dog’s body it’s a no-brainer you have a problem.
Ticks are also an issue if you and your four-legged friend decide to take your walk off the beaten path or live in an area where ticks are rampant.
If you find either of these parasites, you should immediately buy the right flea and tick removal tools to get rid of them.
There are also numerous options to prevent these parasites from invading in the first place. You can buy items such as flea and tick collars, treatments and even tablets online or in your local Petco and PetsMart.
This will ensure your dog doesn’t bring any “friends” with them to your home.
2. Watch for wildlife
Even if you have a ferocious Rotweiller or giant Great Dane, they’re no match for certain wildlife inhabitants.
Raccoons, bears, coyotes, bobcats and other wild animals are a threat to you and your dog’s usual stroll around the park or your backyard.
Always think twice before leaving your dog out at night because you never know what’s lurking out there in the dark.
Just this year in Beaufort County, there have been six cases of rabies in animals. One man was even attacked by a rabid fox as he rode his moped, The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette reported.
3. Watch what they eat
It might sound like a cliche, but your dog definitely becomes what he or she eats.
Included are obvious choices: no to chocolate, but yes to most meat and peanut butter.
However, even though your dog can have a dash of milk, you shouldn’t share your cold ice cream treat with your pooch.
You shoud also pay attentionto the plants your dog is showing an interest in.
One Lowcountry man warned that the popular sago palm is actually toxic for dogs.
His poor 11-month-old Japanese Chin, Echo, died from liver poisoning due to Echo coming in contact with sago palm seeds, The Island Packet reported.
So pay attention to where your dog sticks his nose because it can be fatal.
4. Keep them on a leash
Seriously. Unless your dog is trained to listen to your every command and is literally at your beck and call, there’s no telling what will set his curious spirit ablaze.
Whether your dog tends to be a bit unfriendly or loves everyone, keep a firm hold onto the leash to avoid harming other innocent dogs or their people.
Always keep an eye open if you and your pooch like to frequent dog parks.
You never know if that little Chihuahua could actually gnaw one of your dog’s toebeans off.
5. For goodness sake, don’t leave them in your car
Do we really need to explain this one?
The reality is that even if you say, “Oh I’ll only be gone 10 minutes,” in those 10 minutes your car could go from a cool 75 degrees to 90 degrees, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
If that doesn’t scare you, Buzzfeed filmed just how miserable the inside of your car can be on a hot summer day.
It’s not a pretty sight.