Summer means outdoor fun with your dog or your cat (if he’s an adventure cat). However, various risks come with higher temperatures, particularly heat stroke. Your pet does not sweat as you do; he drinks water and pants to decrease his body temperature. Here are seven pet safety tips to avoid trouble this summer.
1. Provide Lots of Water and Shade
Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water, both indoors and out. Feed more wet food to increase fluid intake. Outdoors, keep your pet in the shade as much as possible. Avoid the hot middle of the day by walking your dog early in the morning or late in the evening. Be aware of signs of dehydration that include heavy panting and dry gums.
2. NEVER Leave Your Pet in Your Car
You might not realize that it can take less than ten minutes for an animal to develop heatstroke inside a hot vehicle. And, some states have hot car laws that make it illegal to leave your pet in a car.
3. Be Aware of Sunburn
Nature has designed your pet’s coat in ways to keep him cool in summer and warm in winter. Don’t shave your pet – it’s ok to trim your pet’s fur, but be sure to leave at least an inch of hair as sunburn protection. Sunburn is painful and can lead to skin cancer. If you are taking your dog to the beach for the day, apply pet-specific sunscreen every three to four hours to the most exposed spots on his body – belly, ears, and nose.
4. Don’t Burn Your Pet’s Paws
Pets heat and cool from the bottom up. Avoid hot surfaces like asphalt and cement that can increase your pet’s body temperature and also burn his paws. Don’t drive around with your dog in the back of your truck – hot metal can burn his paws quickly. Consider a set of paw-protection doggy boots.
5. Keep Parasites Away
In summer, fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and other parasites are everywhere. These parasites carry heartworms, tapeworms, Lyme disease, and more. Ask your vet for appropriate treatments to keep your pet pest-free.
6. Consider a Life Vest
Not every dog is a good swimmer, and others may not know how to get out of a pool. In the ocean, strong currents can sweep your dog out to sea. If your dog enjoys sailing or boating with you, a brightly-colored life vest is an essential pet safety feature.
7. Pets and Fireworks Don’t Mix
Summer means various noisy outdoor celebrations such as the 4th of July. While humans “ooh” and “ah” at exploding starbursts in the sky, pets generally find noisy fireworks scary. Also, fireworks consist of chemicals that can poison your curious pet if eaten. Clear your yard of any fireworks debris before letting your pet back outside.
Have Fun with Your Pet Safely this Summer
If your pet shows symptoms of heat exhaustion, put him in a cool place, give him some water, place a damp towel over his body, and get him to a vet ASAP. Don’t place him in cold water as that can put him into shock. If you live in Columbia SC rush him to CVETS for the best in emergency care.