Summer Pet Tips
By: Savannah Rigley | July 9, 2019
The sweltering heat of summertime is not only uncomfortable for our furry friends—it can be doggone dangerous as well! Here are some handy tips that we’ve compiled to help you keep your pets cool and safe throughout the sizzling summer months:
- Parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are everywhere this time of year and carry tapeworms, heartworms and disease (such as Lyme). Visit the vet for a checkup and make sure that your pet is properly protected.
- Always provide your pets with fresh, clean water and shade when they are outdoors. Remember, if you’re uncomfortable, they’re uncomfortable!
- Take your dogs for walks during the early morning or late evening hours when it’s cooler out. Bring plenty of water along with you and take frequent breaks in the shade.
- Keep your pets off of asphalt and cement when the temperature is high. Hot surfaces can burn the pads of your pooches paws, and because your furry friend is lower to the ground than you, their bodies heat up much quicker.
- While it is sometimes suggested to cover your pets paws to avoid burns to their pads, covering their paws can be dangerous. Pets release heat through their paws, so covering them will only trap it.
- Watch your pets for symptoms of overheating. Possible symptoms include heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea or wobbly legs. If you think your pet may be overheated, move them to a cool area with drinking water, place a damp towel over their body and get them to the vet right away. Never put your pet in cold water if you think they may be overheated, as it can cause shock.
- Some pets are more susceptible to heat stroke, including elderly pets, puppies overweight pets, and pets with heath issues. Breeds with short noses, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese and Persian cats are more susceptible as well, because they cannot pant as efficiently as others.
- While trimming your dog’s longer fur is fine, don’t shave them. The layers of their coat protect them from overheating or getting a sunburn.
- Brushing your cat more frequently during the summer can help prevent problems brought on by the heat.
- Pets can get sunburns too, so if you’re planning to spend time in the sun with your pet, pick up some sunscreen made specifically for pets. Apply it to the areas of their body that are not protected with lots of hair every 3 to 4 hours. Never apply sunscreen or insect repellant that wasn’t made specifically for animals.
- Never leave your pets alone in the car, even if you’re parked in the shade and have the windows cracked. The temperature inside a closed car can rise quickly, even if the heat isn’t extreme. A good rule of thumb is 70 or over, don’t take Rover.
- Don’t leave your pets unsupervised around a pool. If they go for a swim, make sure to keep them from drinking the pool water and rinse them off afterwards to remove chlorine, salt or other chemicals from their fur.
- If you enjoy taking your pet boating, make sure they wear a floatation device. Choose one in a bright color to help keep them visible in case an accident occurs.
- If you have unscreened windows in your home, be careful not to leave them open. If you have screened in windows that you plan to open, ensure that the screens are tightly secured.
- While some people turn off the air conditioning when they leave home, it could put your pet in danger. Rather than turning the air off, set it to a conservative but cool temperature, like 78°F. Closing your curtains when you leave can help keep your home cool as well.
- Insecticides, rodenticides, lawn fertilizer, chemicals used for your lawn or garden, and backyard bug deterrents like citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch products can be harmful to your pets if they are ingested. Always keep these items out of their reach and call a vet immediately if you think your pet may have gotten into a potentially toxic item.
- Check that the plants growing in your yard are safe for pets.
- When using products for your lawn or garden, carefully read and follow the instructions for how long you should keep your pets away from treated areas.
- If you have help maintaining your lawn or garden, let those coming in out of your yard know that you have pets.
- When choosing mulch, watch out for cocoa bean mulch. This variety contains the same toxin that is found in chocolate.
- Food and drinks commonly served at summer BBQs can be toxic to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and products that contain the sweetener xylitol out of your pet’s reach.