As the summer months are now in full swing, our concerns for our hounds change direction. Instead of ice, snow and winter woes, we have now arrived at the time of year when another set of issues come into play. Here are a few items we would like to share.
Watch out for bee stings! Yellow jackets can sting several times and still live. Other bees, like honey bees, sting once and die; some wasps and hornets can sting many times as well. If a hound were to have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, it would only take about 30 seconds to happen. If you know or suspect your grey may have been stung give Benadryl (one tablet for up to 60 pounds, 2 tablets for over that) and rush them to the vet.
If you know your grey is allergic, ask your vet to prescribe a “bee sting emergency kit” for you to keep at home. The most important areas of concern are the mouth, eyes and ingestion of a multi-sting bee (they can keep stinging all the way down the esophagus and cause swelling which then cuts off the airway).
Mulch (and other Interesting Items)
Mulch seems pretty harmless unless you are using the “red cocoa mulch” which was so popular last year. This product is made from the husk of the cocoa tree which is what produces CHOCOLATE. If any of this red mulch is ingested, it acts just like a chocolate candy bar and can cause upset stomachs, seizures and even death.
Some greyhounds love to eat anything interesting in the garden. Any type of mulch that is ingested can make a hound sick. If your hound likes to chew on things out in the yard (grass, plants, acorns, rocks, seed pods, sticks, etc.), you may want to use the kennel muzzle (with a stool cup inside) that you received in your adoption kit. This will prevent a hound from snacking on items that are not good for the digestion.
We all want beautiful plants and grass. Don’t forget your greyhound(s) when you are working in your yard and garden. Keep in mind that some lawn care products can be hazardous to your hounds. If you have a lawn care service, please ask them what types of fertilizers and pest sprays they use. Most chemicals today are safe for pets, but remember that our hounds have much thinner skin and can get sicker faster if subjected to strong doses of even safe chemicals. Your hound may not ingest any chemicals directly from your landscape, but a dog licking its paws can unwittingly dose itself with the chemical it walked in.
Also, be aware of the types of specialized products you are using. For instance, although some lawn fertilizers are safe, some products used for specific garden applications could mean a dose of poison for a greyhound. Reports have been published recently of greyhounds dying when they ate snail bait spread around the base of plants in the garden.
If you don’t use fertilizers, pesticides or weed killers on your yard, you still need to be vigilant if you walk your hound in the neighborhood. Many people do use these products. Pay careful attention to this as your dog traverses the neighborhood lawns or grassy areas along curbs. If you notice any spraying going on, please avoid walking near these areas as lawn chemicals can be transported by wind.
Garden Tools and Lawn Furniture
This one hurts deeply. Several years ago a friend was cleaning up her yard. She had her wheelbarrow out for the debris she was gathering. She thought it would be nice to have the dogs out in the yard with her. The dogs began playing and suddenly her 10 year old grey streaked by and impaled itself on the handles of her wheelbarrow. Another adopter last summer lost her greyhound when she ran full speed into the corner of a concrete bench. Remember that your hounds can reach speeds up to 35-45 MPH in three strides. That speed is enough to turn a harmless tool handle into a death sentence for a greyhound. The same applies to garden tools with points. No matter how careful you are, the possibility is always there.
Dieffenbachia, philodendron, and other pretty plants are deadly to greyhounds and other pets. If you go to the National Poison Control web site, you can get the entire list of plants that are hazardous to your animals.
Seems safe enough, right? Have you ever felt the water coming out of a hose that sat in the sun for a few hours? It can be hot enough to burn your skin not to mention the tender mouth tissue of any person or animal. Another concern with hoses are the loops can get caught around skinny necks and in trying to get away can be twisted and tighten until the dog literally hangs itself.
Ice Cold Water/Ice cubes
For years it was common to give dog’s ice cubes. At dog shows, breeders and owners sometimes give their dogs ice cubes after coming out of the ring to cool them off; that is, until one dog ate ice cubes and it caused the stomach to twist and the dog died of bloat before it could reach medical treatment. The dog’s body temperature on the inside was very high and the affect from the ice was the same as giving the dog a drink of water or food before or after running. It produced an atmosphere to allow gas to build up and the intestines twisted.
Feeding and Watering
We all have been told not to feed or water our greyhounds or any dog one hour before or one hour after they eat, but it is worth repeating. Always make sure you dog has access to water when outside on a hot day.
Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke; do you know the difference?
This is one of our biggest concerns! In the spring and summer many of us like to take our hounds with us to outdoor events and parks. Often, on a hot day, we don’t think of how the heat may be affecting our hounds. Please take a moment to think about this important topic.
Heat Stroke is an emergency! Saliva is thick and tenacious and the dog vomits frequently, fainting or unconsciousness. Rectal temps are high often over 106 degrees. If untreated the dog becomes unsteady, staggers, has diarrhea which is often bloody, becomes weaker. Brain damage, coma and death can occur.
Heat Exhaustion: Excessive panting, skin inside the ears becomes flushed and red, weakness, staggering. If left untreated can become heat stroke
Treatments are the same for both. DON’T wait for vet treatment; start at once. Cool the dog’s body with cool wet towels or hose the dog with cool water. Apply an ice pack to the dogs head. Remove the dog to a cool place. Continue treatment until your dog’s temperature reaches normal (102-103 degrees). Transport to the vet as soon as the dog’s temperature is stabilized. This is the most dangerous problem we face in summer. Our hounds do not have the body fat or the fur to protect them from the sun’s heat. We must be vigilant.
Greyhounds are not usually great swimmers. Some may be able to paddle around but on the whole they can not swim or float. There is no body fat to keep them afloat. If you have an in-ground pool, be sure to take your dog into the water with you and show them how to get out. Show them where the steps are located, teach them that if they fall in the deep end they can walk to the shallow end and get out. For those with above-ground pools, you need to have extra vigilance that your ladder is not left down.
Don’t forget, on a hot day, walking your hound on hot pavement may result in blistered paws! We’ve seen many greyhounds suffer from blistered paws at some of the outdoor greyhound events that take place in the spring and summer months. If you want to test how hot the pavement is, take off your shoes and stand on the pavement for a moment in your bare feet. If it’s too hot for you, it is certainly too hot for your greyhound!
Since greyhounds don’t have thick fur to protect their skin from sunburns, many can burn very easily and quickly out in the hot sun. Watch their ears as well as ears will burn (and blister) quickly before other parts of the body. A sunburned greyhound will suffer much pain – if you’ve ever had a bad sun burn, you certainly can understand what you hound might be feeling.
The advice offered here is not designed to frighten you or discourage you from having summer fun with your greyhound. Just a little attention to all of these warnings will ensure that you have a Greyt Safe Summer!