Lurking in the Bushes: Outdoor Gastrointestinal Dangers for Pets

Outdoor Gastrointestinal Dangers for PetsIt finally seems like the weather is changing and spring is here. With the warmer, sunnier weather, you and your pet are probably spending more time outdoors. While getting a little extra sun is great for us all, mentally and physically, it is important for us to be aware of potentially dangerous situations for our frolicking furry friends.

In particular, outdoor gastrointestinal dangers for pets can be worrisome. While you may be focused on grilling the perfect hamburger, Fido can get himself into a situation that could result in you cleaning your carpets later (or worse). Learn which worrisome obstacles you need to steer clear of this spring.

Pesky Parasites

The great outdoors is fraught with many inhabitants, some that we love and others that we could do without. Pets who venture outside are at higher risk of exposure to many parasitic organisms, and precautions should be taken.

Indoor pets can fall prey as well, but if your pet is spending time outdoors, you must be extra vigilant about:

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Heartworms (from mosquitoes)
  • Intestinal parasites

Whether your pet chooses to peruse deer droppings, licks some contaminated dirt off the chew toy he or she brought outdoors, or is unlucky enough to walk into a tick bed, routine parasite prevention and fecal screenings are very important.

Puddle Jumper

There are many good reasons to not allow your pet to drink out of puddles, but perhaps the most pertinent to your pet’s health (and your upholstery) is the risk of Giardia.

Giardia is a single-celled protozoal organism that loves to swim in water. It can live in the digestive tract of many wild and domestic species, being shed into the feces. This means that any water that potentially has been contaminated with waste could house this nasty little organism.

Giardiasis causes diarrhea and occasionally vomiting and/or decreased appetite. Another fact about this parasitic organism is that people can contract it as well, meaning that your pet quenching his thirst in that puddle could result in members of the family becoming ill. So be sure that your dog has access to plenty of clean, fresh water when spending time outdoors.

Other Outdoor Gastrointestinal Dangers for Pets

Potentially anything that your pet might deem worthy of ingestion could cause an issue. For some animals, more food-like items are the most tempting.

Common outdoor gastrointestinal dangers for pets that you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Unsecured garbage cans
  • Animal carcasses
  • Discarded charcoal ashes from the grill
  • Sticks or mulch
  • Cigarette butts
  • Various plants

Getting into these types of items can cause some definite tummy upset or even result in a gastrointestinal obstruction.

While the outdoors might house a few gastrointestinal dangers for your pet, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid it. Take a few extra precautions and be sure that your furry friend is on a good parasite prevention plan. If you need help being sure Fido or Fluffy is ready to venture outdoors, don’t hesitate to call us at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital.  With a little common sense and our guidance, you have nothing to fear.