Dog days of summer: No grill bones for you!

June 17, 2013

Warm-weather hazards for dogs aren't necessarily heat-related.

Bones and other flotsam from summertime grill-outs and barbecues can pose serious health hazards for pooches, said Amanda Fairchild, a certified veterinary technician at Dublin Animal Hospital.

"After cooking and after being processed, they (bones) end up being extremely brittle. They can shatter and can cut as they're being swallowed," Fairchild said. "We see a lot of obstruction from stuff like that in the warmer weather."

Even if a dog manages to chew up and swallow portions of a bone, there could be trouble.

"Dogs can eat those and they do not always pass," Fairchild said. "They can cause obstruction, which is only surgically fixable."

That said, dog owners - and all pet owners - never should feed animals grill scraps, and should take special care when bagging up post-meal refuse.

Keep trash away from areas to which your dog has, or might gain, access.

"The hotter it is, the stinkier and more appealing that trash will be," said Fairchild, who only feeds her dogs "non-people-food bones."

If you suspect your dog has eaten a bone, keep an eye out for any signs of lethargy, diarrhea or vomiting, or lack of appetite.

"For preventative measures, you may want to take them in that day to see the vet. They may want to try to induce vomiting," Fairchild said.

Another summer canine dining hazard - wild-growing mushrooms - might already have sprung up in your yard.

"If people see any kinds of fungi or mushrooms growing in their yard, they should clear them out immediately because they definitely can cause toxicity," Fairchild said.

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