Summer Hints for Greyhounds

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 insects come into play. Here are a few items I would like to share.

Bee Stings
Last year our Jetta Sue was stung by a yellow jacket. These bees 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. When Jetta was stung, we immediately gave her benadryl. Because she was stung in several places, I rushed her to the ER Vet for evaluation. Luckily, Jetta did not have an allergic reaction. However, the vet informed me that if Jetta had had an allergic reaction it would have been within 30 seconds and the only thing I could have done would have been to give her one of the “bee sting injections” out of an emergency kit. If you know or suspect your grey may have been stung give benadryl (one tablet for up to 60 lbs, 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 or the mouth, eyes and ingestion of a multi sting bee (they can keep stinging all the way down the esophogus and cause swelling which then cuts off the airway.

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 even death.

Fertilizer/Weed Killer
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.

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 35-49 MPH in three strides. That speed is enough to turn a harmless tool handle into a death sentence for a grey. The same applies to garden tools with points. No matter how careful you are, the possibility is always there.

Poisonous Plants
I love Diffenbacia, philodendron, and other pretty plants. They 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.

Water Hoses
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 we gave our dogs ice cubes. When we attended dog shows, breeders and owners always gave their dogs ice cubes after coming out of the ring to cool them off, until, one dog ate ice cubes last year and it caused the stomach to twist and the dog died of bloat before it could reach medical treatment. Unusual, maybe, but until this event, I thought nothing of giving ice to our kids. It seemed that the dogs 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
I am sure we all know 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?

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 vet as soon as the dog’s temperature is stabilized. This is the most dangerous problem we face in summer. Our kids do not have the body fat or the fur to protect them from the suns heat. We must be vigilant.

I know someone has to have a pool in the group. Greyhounds are not 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. I know a lady who was painting her house trim on a ladder. She felt movement on the ladder and looked down to see her greyhound beginning to climb up the ladder behind her. They are smart and watch everything we do so take care.

Have a Greyt Safe Summer!

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