Your Pet’s Guide to a Safe Summer

cat relaxing on a mat on a patio

Summertime is approaching and we’re ready to soak up the sunshine with our pets. Before you venture out, take a look at this guide to help your pet survive the season.

Visit your veterinarian for a checkup

Start the season off right with an appointment with your veterinarian. You can get your pets tested for heartworm and put them on a year-round preventative if you haven’t already. With more time spent outside, it’s important to keep your pet protected against fleas and ticks.

While you’re there, you may want to ask about the best skin protection product for your pet. Pets with pink skin or a light coat might be susceptible to sunburns. Your veterinarian can help you choose a safe sunscreen for your cat or dog.

If your veterinarian offers grooming services, it’s a good idea to keep your pet’s long fur trimmed during the hotter months. But don’t shave your pets — their coats offer protection from overheating and sunburns.

Keep your pet cool and hydrated

If you’re venturing out, keep your pet off of asphalt. Asphalt surfaces can get extremely hot and burn your pet’s paws or lead to heatstroke. You can place your hand on the ground to test the heat. If you can’t keep your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. Try to avoid going for walks during the hottest times of the day.

When indoors, keep the temperature as controlled as possible. Air conditioning, shaded windows, and fans can help. Your pet should always have access to clean and cool water. Water can quickly warm up, so keep an eye on the water bowl throughout the day.

If your pet is elderly, has a heart or lung disease, or has a flat face (such as Pekingese dogs or Persian cats) it can be best to keep them inside as much as possible. Breeds with flat faces can have trouble panting effectively enough to combat the heat. These pets are more susceptible to heatstroke, which can cause vomiting, lethargy, seizures, or even death. If you think your pet is experiencing heatstroke, bring them to a veterinarian right away.

Watch out for common hazards

Summer days are perfect for gatherings and barbeques. If your pets are joining the fun, be sure to keep them away from the human snacks and drinks. Some common summer foods that can be harmful include onions, grapes, candy, and salty foods. Try to keep your summer meals out of reach from curious pets.

If your furry friend likes to lounge on the lawn, take care to avoid rodenticides and garden insecticides. These can cause issues for your pet if they are ingested. You’ll also want to watch out for yellow jackets, bees, and snakes. If your pet is stung or bit by any critter or creature, reach out to your veterinarian immediately.

The sunny days and warm nights of summer may bring some dangers, but with the right precautions, you and your pet can safely enjoy the season.