Seasonal Pet Health Tips

Summer is a tough season for our pets. The heat can get extreme for them, while hurricanes, thunderstorms, and fireworks all bring about their own problems, too. In addition, Bufo toads are more active in the summer, posing a danger to our curious dogs. Take care of your pet this summer with our seasonal pet health tips!


Heat Safety

Heat safety isn’t just about the temperature outside—it also has a lot to do with humidity. Pets release heat through panting, and a higher humidity makes panting ineffective. Even on a cooler day, your pet could be vulnerable to heatstroke if the humidity is high. Watch for these signs that your pet may be getting overheated:

  • Heavy panting or difficulty breathing
  • Reddened gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Increased heart rate

These are early signs that your pet needs to be moved to a cooler location. If your pet begins vomiting, has bloody diarrhea, collapses, or has a seizure, bring them to us immediately for medical care.

Holiday Safety: Dangerous Foods for Pets

During the holiday season, many pet owners may be tempted to share festive treats with their furry companions, but it's essential to be aware of the potential dangers certain holiday foods can pose to your pets. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Turkey Bones: While it's tempting to share the holiday centerpiece with your pets, turkey bones can splinter and cause choking, intestinal blockages, or tears in your pet's digestive tract.
  • Chocolate: Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate are toxic to dogs, leading to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and even seizures. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain higher levels of these toxins, making them even more dangerous.
  • Onions and Garlic: These ingredients, commonly found in holiday dishes, can lead to gastrointestinal upset, organ damage, and even anemia in pets when consumed in sufficient quantities.
  • Grapes and Raisins: These seemingly innocuous fruits can cause kidney failure in dogs, often requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Alcohol: Keep alcoholic beverages out of your pet's reach, as they can lead to alcohol poisoning, causing coordination issues, vomiting, and even coma in pets.

It's essential to resist the urge to share human holiday foods with your pets and instead provide them with pet-safe treats and maintain their regular diet to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for both you and your beloved animals.


Hurricane season means we all need to have a good disaster preparedness plan in place for our families and our pets. Consider getting together an evacuation kit for your pet including their food, water, a carrier, leash, litter and a litter box for cats, as well as their medical and vaccination records in case you need to board them along the way. Additionally, if you are waiting out the storm at home, make sure your pet is familiar with your storm shelter, or the area where you’ll take shelter if needed.

Fireworks and Thunderstorms

The summer brings about many ferocious storms as well as the booms of fireworks for the Fourth of July. If your pet has a noise phobia, these events are more than just unnerving—they’re terrifying. Noise phobia can cause your pet to hide, defecate or urinate in the home, chew obsessively, drool and pant excessively, tremble, shake, or even bark at the noises. To help your pet remain calm, there are a few steps you can take if a storm is on its way or fireworks are lighting up the sky:

  • Place your pet in an area of your house where the sound is muffled, such as a bathroom or bedroom in the middle of the house or a basement.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about ways you can modify their behavior with appropriate training.
  • If your pet’s anxiety is severe, anti-anxiety medications can help keep them calm during storms and fireworks. Ask your veterinarian about options!

Bufo Toads

Annually in South Florida, Bufo toads are one of the greatest threats to our pets. We have seen numerous bufo toad toxicities and believe that the best way to prevent them is through awareness. The toxin of a Bufo toad is released when the toad feels threatened, and for those of us who have dogs, we know that our dogs are most likely to catch prey in their mouths. It’s an incredible defense for a toad, but can be deadly for our dogs.

If your dog catches a Bufo toad, it is essential that you rinse out their mouth immediately. While this will not eliminate the effects of the poisoning completely, it may minimize them. Symptoms of Bufo toad poisoning may appear immediately and can include:

  • Whining
  • Pawing at face
  • Drooling
  • Change of colors inside the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing and walking
  • Seizures
  • Fever

If your dog has been poisoned by a Bufo toad, they need emergency treatment IMMEDIATELY. Please bring your pet to our hospital right away.