As we move into the heat of the summer, we can’t wait to get outside and spend time in the sun. But this season brings some dangers for your pet. Check out these tips to help you and your pet keep cool and stay safe.
1. Maintain a climate-controlled environment whenever possible.
Excessive heat increases your pet’s risk for heatstroke. This can cause numerous issues, including vomiting and lethargy, or in more severe cases, seizures or even death. It is important to provide air conditioning or air circulation when your pet is at home or in the car.
Never leave your pet alone in the car, even on a seemingly cool day. Vehicles can heat up significantly quicker than you may expect, so it is best to take your furry friend with you whenever you leave the car.
2. Keep an eye on your pet during summer barbeques and gatherings.
Your pet is eyeing that burger on the grill just as much as you are. Make sure your dog or cat can’t reach the grill and stays away from any open flames. It is also a good idea to make sure your pet can’t reach the area where your food is being prepared or served.
Be sure to put any leftovers in containers where your pet can’t sneak in a snack. Some common summertime foods that are unsafe include grapes, raisins, bones, onions, salt, chocolate, and alcohol.
3. Stay well groomed to stay cool.
Pets who spend summertime outdoors can benefit from a shorter cut. This is especially true if your pet loves to go for a swim. A shorter cut is easier to maintain and it also makes it easier to spot fleas or ticks.
A shorter coat will also dry quicker after splashing in the water. This will help prevent any matting in their fur or smelly odors. If your pet is swimming in a pool, some pool chemicals can be harmful. Maintaining a short cut ensures your pet’s fur or hair can thoroughly dry and prevent these chemicals from staying on your pet.
4. Pack sunscreen for you and for your pet.
You may not think that your pet needs sunscreen, but if they have pink skin, light hair, or a thin coat, then sunburns could be a problem.
However, human sunscreen, which contains ingredients like zinc that can be harmful if ingested, is not safe for your pet. Be sure to talk to a veterinarian about the best skin protection products for your pet.
5. Life jackets are an excellent safety precaution.
While many dogs are natural swimmers, many are not as gifted. Drowning is a potential risk, but life jackets are a great safety measure. When choosing one, make sure your pet can move freely but is still secure and will not slip out of the life jacket. You can also choose one that has a handle for you to grab and a ring to attach a leash.
6. Be wary of bacteria living in water.
Dogs who love to make a splash will get more exposure to algae and bacteria. Lakes and rivers can contain harmful organisms. Some of these bacteria or parasites can also be passed to humans.
Don’t let your dog drink from bodies of water. Lakes and rivers may look clean, but it is better to be cautious. Drinking excessive salt water from oceans also poses health risks for your pet. When you get home from a day by the water, look out for diarrhea, trouble eating, or lethargy in your pet. If you notice these symptoms, talk to a veterinarian.
7. Stay hydrated!
Always provide enough hydration when adventuring outdoors. Try to plan your activities during cooler times of the day. When you go, be sure to bring enough water to keep your pet cool.
You can stay prepared with reusable water bottles that have pet bowls attached to them, or pick up a portable water bowl that can be easily stored in a backpack. Keep fresh water available to safely keep the summer fun going.
Summer is a season filled with fun — and some potential dangers. With these tips, you and your pet can safely make the most out of these sunny months.