OHIO — As summer approaches, there are several things pet owners should consider to keep their pets healthy.

What You Need To Know

  • Place animals in the basement or away from windows when there are fireworks 

  • When having summer gatherings, avoid grapes, raisins, avocados, chocolate products and anything with xylitol in it

  • Have people come into your home first and then bring your animals into the space to help them adjust

As families start hosting summer gatherings at their homes, VCA Lakewood's Medical Director Dr. Constance Curren said the best thing to do is to try and avoid situations where there are noises that could cause animals to panic and run for cover.

“I would never bring my dog around fireworks willingly," said Curren. "I think I would offer them a room in the basement or away from windows in the home where they’re not going to be subjected to the flashing lights and the noise that can so panic them. I would play music audibly to cover up any explosive sounds, and I would contact my veterinarian at least a couple of weeks ahead of time for calming medications.” 

While many people feed their pets table food, Curren said make sure to keep them away from alcoholic beverages. The drinks can cause sickness and intoxication. Also steer clear of grapes, raisins, avocados, chocolate products and anything with xylitol in it. She notes that rich sauces “can cause a lot of digestive upset, pancreatitis, diarrhea and vomiting.” 

As pet owners mind the food given to animals, Curren indicated they should also be on the lookout for heat stroke as the temperatures heat up.

"Dogs will develop rampant, very labored respiration, fast panting. They’ll drool. They become lethargic. They’ll be unwilling to move. They’re mucous membranes can even look bright red. Sometimes you can even see collapsed vomiting and diarrhea, and at the very worst, seizures from elevated body temperature,” explained Curren. 

Editor's Note: This story has been changed to reflect Dr. Constance Curren is the medical director at VCA Lakewood. (May 26, 2022)