Summer concerns
Sian Hampton Photography / The Kennel Club ©

Summer is the season for spending time outside, relaxing and enjoying the sun. As with every season, summer poses risks to dogs which owners should be aware of.  If you are concerned about your dog regarding any of the below, please seek veterinary advice.

Heat and dehydration

Dogs are not as good at dealing with high temperatures as humans, as they find it harder to cool down, so it is important to see signs that your dog is too hot (for example, panting excessively and lethargy) and take the necessary precautions to avoid heatstroke. Make sure they have plenty of water and an area of shade to cool down.


Barbeques are popular to have during the summer, but involve quite a few risks to dogs. With food easily accessible, your dog may use every opportunity to sneak a snack off your guests' plates and off the floor. Establish boundaries to prevent your dog from picking up BBQ food, and inform your guests not to feed your dog inappropriate food that are hazardous to your dog (for example, cooked bones).  In addition, be aware of your dog getting too close to the BBQ. Avoid leaving rubbish such as plastic wrappers and kebab skewers where your dog can get to them.

Flowers and plants

Summer is the perfect time to get out of the house and relax in your garden. Some plants and flowers can be toxic to dogs, and can cause serious clinical effects. Click here to see a list of the most common house and garden plants that are poisonous to dogs.

Insect stings and bites

Along with the flowers in bloom, summer brings an abundance of insects. The severity of an insect sting or bite depends on the insect, the location of the sting/bite and whether your dog is allergic. Typical signs include redness, pain and swelling.

Slug and snail pellets

Chemicals and fertilizers are the main garden dangers to dogs. Slug and snail pellets that contain metaldehyde are one of the most dangerous and common poisonings in dogs. Small amounts can cause severe toxic effects so seek veterinary attention immediately if your dog has ingested pellets. Signs include muscle spasms and rigidity, tremors and convulsions, and incoordination.

Ant powders, baits and gels

These rarely cause significant poisoning as the active ingredients are usually low in concentration. If ingested, you may see salivation, constricted pupils, increased body temperature and wobbliness. In severe cases, toxic effects include respiratory depression, convulsions and could lead to a coma.


The Common toad and the Natterjack toad are native to Britain, largely found in forest areas and wet locations. Poisoning occurs when dogs lick or eat toads - exposure to toads is at its highest between June and August when they are spawning. Signs include vomiting, frothing and foaming at the mouth, hypersalivation, shaking, oral pain and collapse.

Beach dangers

The beach can hold a few dangers for your dog, so safety precautions should be considered. Stop your dog from drinking sea water as it could lead to salt poisoning; make sure you have fresh water to keep them hydrated. Ensure your dog has a shady area to cool down in and consider using sunscreen, especially if your dog has pale or thin fur, and on vulnerable areas such as the nose and ears. Running on sand uses more energy than on grass, so make sure your dog doesn't overdo it and has plenty of rest. Wash the salt and sand out of your dog's coat and paws, and check for any cuts.

Hot dogs in cars

Dogs should never be left in the car unattended, even on a mildly warm day. Dogs can die this way even if the car has been left in the shade and car windows are open. If you are travelling in the car with your dog for a long period of time, make sure you take the necessary precautions such as taking plenty of stops, having lots of water and an appropriate shady space for your dog. Click here for more information.

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