Summer fun is all about staying cool, and that means a lot of time in the water.

However, our favorite beaches, lakes and even pools can be dangerous for pets. Good thing our vethelpline® experts are here to answer the tough questions.

Member concern: A frightful tail

VetHelpline dog playing in the pool-1

After going swimming a few days ago, Milo didn't sleep well that night. Yesterday his tail was limp. He slept a little better last evening, but he still whines when we gently touch his tail. What could be the cause of this?

vethelpline response:

Limber tail syndrome, also known as swimmer tail, is a condition in dogs that causes their tail to become lifeless, painful and limp after spending too much time in the water.

Swimmer tail is rarely dangerous, and typically resolves itself after a week or two of rest. Contact an emergency veterinarian if Milo shows signs of increasing discomfort, such as persistent crying or vocalizing, restlessness, loss of appetite or any new symptoms. Similarly, if Milo isn’t showing improvement in a few days, a veterinary evaluation is recommended.

Also, remember: Human pain medications are highly toxic to our pets and should never be given to pets. If you think Milo needs a pain reliever, please contact your vet.

Member concern: Poolside problems

VetHelpline dog with leaf in mouth-1

We live in New York, and Jake ingested a leaf that was floating in our recently uncovered pool. He has since eaten and immediately vomited four times in the past 45 minutes. On closer inspection, the water might have blue-green algae growing in it. He also may have ingested some mulch. What should I do?

vethelpline response:

First, the good news—the weather in your area likely hasn’t been hot enough to produce dangerous cyanobacteria, even if algae growing in your pool is a little blueish green in color.

However, Jake should see a veterinarian promptly to monitor his persistent vomiting, and to rule out the potential for a foreign body obstruction from the mulch.


Member concern: Boating pup-arations

VetHelpline dog on a boat-1

I want to take my new pup Maui out in a pontoon boat—are there any boat safety precautions I should take?

vethelpline response:

We recommend that Maui be fitted for a canine life jacket with handles on the back, so she can be easily pulled up out of the water. Choose one that is brightly colored or has reflective strips.

Dogs are prone to heatstroke or heat exhaustion, so make sure Maui has easy access to fresh water and a cool, shaded spot to rest. It’s not a bad idea to apply pet-friendly sunscreen to her paw pads, ear flaps and nose. Also, make sure Maui is up to date on her flea and tick preventive before heading out.

If you’re worried about blue-green algae, check your state Department of Natural Resources website for reports on water quality at the lake. Have fun!


*Pets’ names have been changed

vethelpline® experts are not a substitute for your veterinarian. They cannot prescribe or authorize refills of medications, treat, or diagnose your pet’s condition.

Warm weather warning

Staying summer smart means recognizing potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous. Protect the hot dogs and cool cats in your life by sending an e-card to your pet-loving friends.

Send tips to enjoy the warm weather safely with an e-card.
Warm weather warning

Staying summer smart means recognizing potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous. Protect the hot dogs and cool cats in your life by sending an e-card to your pet-loving friends.

Send tips to enjoy the warm weather safely with an e-card.
Warm weather warning

Staying summer smart means recognizing potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous. Protect the hot dogs and cool cats in your life by sending an e-card to your pet-loving friends.

Send tips to enjoy the warm weather safely with an e-card.
Warm weather warning

Staying summer smart means recognizing potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous. Protect the hot dogs and cool cats in your life by sending an e-card to your pet-loving friends.

Send tips to enjoy the warm weather safely with an e-card.
Warm weather warning

Staying summer smart means recognizing potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous. Protect the hot dogs and cool cats in your life by sending an e-card to your pet-loving friends.

Send tips to enjoy the warm weather safely with an e-card.
Warm weather warning

Staying summer smart means recognizing potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous. Protect the hot dogs and cool cats in your life by sending an e-card to your pet-loving friends.

Send tips to enjoy the warm weather safely with an e-card.

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