It's prime pet-walking season, though there are pathway hazards to look out for.
Of course, prevention of heat and dehydration should be top-of-mind with the heat that's been pelting the Foothills, but some hazards are harder to see.
Foxtail Barley has gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason.
It's a common sight in Alberta and can cause serious harm to dogs.
Dr. Miranda Logan with the Foothills Animal Hospital describes the danger the invasive plant can cause.
"It's an aerodynamic little seed with these little barbs on it, so it can only go one direction: in. Last year my puppy was sniffing along a fence and as he went to sniff in, I realized what the plant was and I caught it as it was going up into his nose. He looked at me like I had grown three heads, he was just like 'what are you doing around my nose?' The bar pieces were about an inch long, so it was a young Foxtail plant that was ready to embed."
They can also get caught in fur, ears, eyes, or even the respiratory system into the lungs, causing severe irritation.
Being aware of the plant goes a long way toward avoiding an injury for your pet, and Dr. Logan even recommends getting rid of them when you see them.
"If you see them, grab them, stick them in your poop bag as you're walking, and dump them. If we can get rid of them, we can make things a little bit safer."
There are accessories available to keep extra curious dogs safe.
"For heavy sniffers, there are actually mesh hoods that cover the entire face now. They can still drink, they cans till catch balls, that sort of thing, they've just got to be trained. Yes, they look a little peculiar, to put it mildly, but at least they have the full head protection."
Of course, ticks are always a concern.
Dr. Logan says a proactive approach is best, especially for long-hair dogs who are much harder to check for the pests.
"We recommend flea/tick preventative basically April through October, whenever it's 4 degrees celsius and above, ticks are actively looking for hosts. I want everybody on it, it's easier to prevent than to try to back up and figure out what's going on. We don't have Lyme Disease in our ticks here yet, but we're still screening for it. It's only a matter of time until we get ticks that are carrying Lyme Disease endemically in Alberta."