As pet owners, we must take responsibility for our furry friends and protect them from the potential threats that come with the hot, humid months of summer. Keeping these safety tips in mind will ensure that you and your pet can have a relaxing and fun summer!
Prioritize Heartworm, Flea, and Tick Prevention
Even just one mosquito bite can cause heartworms in your dog. Do some research on the best preventative for your pet and administer no less than every 30 days. During the outdoor season, give frequent baths and full-body inspections for fleas and ticks — even inside their mouths. It’s a yuck-but-true fact that ticks can live just about anywhere.
Shade, Shelter, Hydration
Although a doghouse provides some shade and shelter, it can be like an oven during the summer months. Pets need to be provided with shade and good air ventilation, so make sure your doghouse functions as an oasis and not a sauna – and of course give them the luxury of indoor air conditioning often. Additionally, hydration is so important in the heat, and no matter how much shade they’re enjoying, always provide fresh, cool water for your fur babies, inside and outside.
Never leave your pet in the car unattended — even if the A/C is running! Cars don’t do well when left running for long periods of time, and pets don’t either, so make sure to leave your furry friend at home or choose a pet-friendly establishment to run your errands. Heatstroke is a very real danger for pets left in hot cars, and according to Blue Buffalo, it can occur within just 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, pets don’t usually have the luxury of wearing shoes to protect their feet like we do. In the summer months, it’s very easy for paws to burn from hot sand or pavement. A good rule to follow is if you can’t place your hand on the pavement for more than 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet. According to the American Kennel Club, if the air temperature is just 86 degrees, the pavement is around 135 degrees.
Summer Parties, Cookouts, and Gardening
Summer parties are a great chance to get together with friends and fellow pets, but make sure to keep an eye out for the following, which can be toxic and fatal to your pets: chocolate, alcohol, garlic and onions, as well as grapes and raisins. Beware of xylitol that may be in sugarless gum and candies, as well as some peanut butters. Some plants, flowers, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbicides in the garden can also be toxic, so make sure to do some research about your house plants and flowers before allowing your pet and other pets out into the yard.
With school out for the summer, children are home more, coming and going as they please, excited to play with their friends. This can often lead to forgetting to close a door or garden gate, letting the family pet out by accident. Be aware of any time your doors and gates are open, and make sure to lay eyes on your pet after your child has gone.
If you have a pool, teach your pets to swim. Also, teach them where the steps are located to exit the pool and have them practice getting out of the pool on their own. When boating, your pet should be wearing a life jacket like all passengers. While the boat is moving, beware of debris or bugs flying in their eyes.
Skin and Ears
Pets are more prone to environmental skin allergies and yeasty ears in the summer months. Check and clean your dog’s ears no less than once a week — especially puppers with long floppy ears. Check cat’s skin and ears at least once per month. Don’t forget that Benadryl’s pink tablets can be given to dogs, though not their gel caps (because they contain Xylitol), if your pup comes home with a bite or scratch.
Fireworks & Gun Shots
Summertime comes with exciting and beautiful fireworks that many people enjoy all season long, not just during Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. While fireworks are fun for most humans, babies and dogs are incredibly sensitive to loud, unknown sounds. First, microchip your pets and add an ID# tag to their collar, so that pets who bolt during loud-noise events have a better chance of making it back home. Since most pets are absolutely petrified of loud noises, you may want to try snuggling, thunder shirts, or blocking out loud noises with music or TV instead. If nothing works for your pet, though, please consult your veterinarian for some medication to calm him or her during these predictable times. Statistics show that 30% more animals go missing between July 4–6, when they can become frantic and run aimlessly, becoming lost.
ANIMAL POISON CONTROL CENTER: 888-426-4435