Protect Your Pets From Summer Wounds


The dog days of summer are fun for us and our pets, but veterinarians at VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital (  say there are a few injury symptoms to watch for in your dogs as the summer continues and with the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.

VRCC experts say many dog owners engaging in regular summertime activities with their pets like swimming, going to the reservoirs and going on walks don’t realize what can go wrong that may  land them with their dog in the VRCC emergency room. Here are VRCC’s top three things all dog owners should be aware of when playing with your dog outdoors in our super hot temperatures:


Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs are the centerpiece of recreation for many families but it’s not going to be a “day at the beach” for your dog if  he or she eats sand or ingests dirt while at a reservoir or hiking the trails around it. Impactions occur when material enters the intestines and creates a blockage. Early symptoms include refusing food and water and vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and pain.

Treatment may include IV fluid therapy, stomach pumping, medications in an effort to break up the blockage and get it to pass. In some cases, surgery may be required.


Colorado families with access to a lake where swimming is allowed may find their dog gets “Swimmer’s Tail”. This occurs when dogs swim in water that’s either too warm or too cold, or when dogs simply swim for too long and aren’t yet properly conditioned for that amount of activity. The condition presents with the telltale signs which may include a limp tail, no wagging, a tail that extends horizontally for 3-4 inches and then suddenly drops, hair stand up at the base of the tail, pain upon touch and swelling.

Though swimmer’s tail is not typically serious, and will heal within 3-7 days, it is always a good idea to visit your veterinarian who may order x-rays to rule out any fractures and test blood for increased levels of an enzyme that can damage muscles. Treatment may include warm packs at the base of the tail, anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling and rest.  Reminder: NEVER give your dog Ibuprofen (aka Advil) or acetaminophen (aka Tylenol), it can lead to acute liver failure and other health issues.


Your dog may have a tough callous on their paw pads but that doesn’t mean they can withstand any kind of surface, including burning hot concrete surfaces, hot sand or hot water. Burned paw pads can be extremely painful and debilitating for dogs. Symptoms include limping, refusing to walk, pads that have turned darker than usual or blistering and redness.

This type of injury requires immediate attention, as burned paw pads can become infected. Pain medications and/or antibiotics may be used as treatment and your veterinarian may restrict your pet to indoors or only grassy areas. One good way to avoid any of these issues is to walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when peak temperatures have subsided and surfaces have cooled. You can also invest in doggie boots that Velcro on during walks as well to protect the pads.


ABOUT VRCC: VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital offers the highest level of care for pets, including a 24-hour emergency hospital and critical care center.  Some of the world’s leading veterinary specialists are on-site offering expertise in Cardiology, Dermatology/Allergy, Emergency Care, Internal Medicine, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Oncology/Radiation Therapy, Ophthalmology, and Surgery. More information on VRCC can be found at  “Like” us on Facebook at, Follow us on Twitter @VRCC, Watch us onYouTube or pin with us on Pinterest at



Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.