Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy warmer weather with your pets, but don’t forget their fragile systems are at greater risk during extreme temperatures and in the presence of outdoor elements. These tips should help you and your pets keep your cool during the warm summer months…
In the Car
- Keep pets properly restrained: In an accident, a dog can weigh up 30 times its weight upon impact at 35 mph. Look for seatbelt systems and crates at your favorite pet store.
- Never leave your pet in the car: Above 70 degrees, it takes only minutes for the temperature in your car to rise to triple digits, causing serious brain damage or death very quickly. Leaving the window open slightly doesn’t provide adequate ventilation and in many states it is becoming illegal to leave your pet alone in your automobile. More and more hotels and public places are allowing pets to travel with you so find a place that welcomes your pet and bring them inside.
- Bring water: Car travel can make your pets feel anxious, resulting in nervous panting which contributes to dehydration, especially in warmer weather. Be sure to offer plenty of water.
Playing Outside with Your Pet
Keep in mind that hot summer temps may be too hot to take your pet outside during the day. Be sure to make sure your pets are adequately hydrated and not overheating…
- Avoid pavement and hot sand in hot weather: Dogs have very sensitive paw pads, which can be easily burned by walking on hot pavement and sand. Opt to walk your pet on grass or plan your walks during early morning/late evening times when the ground is cooler.
- Know the symptoms of heat stroke: Dogs don’t sweat to cool like humans and are more likely to suffer heat stroke during the summer. Symptoms of overheating include excessive panting, curling up of the tongue, drooling, and sluggish and unresponsive behavior. These signs can lead to seizures and death. Dogs with thicker and darker coats, shorter faces, or are older, overweight or have heart or breathing problems are at greater risk for heat stroke and should remain indoors with air conditioning during extremely hot days. Be sure to keep longer coats trimmed shorter if your pet overheats easily and have tip-proof bowls and don’t let your pets drink pool water which is loaded with chemicals that can make them sick and dehydrated. Make sure you have plenty of shade for your pets that are kept outside and consider a baby pool for your pets to cool off in.
- Refill pet medications/combat fleas and ticks: Summer is a great time to take a break but not from your pets meds. Insect populations increase during summer months, increasing chances that your pet will come into contact with ticks and fleas. Make sure that your pet is up-to-date with their heartworm shots and refill their flea and tick medications. These bugs aren’t just nuisances, they can cause serious disease and death.
- Safely enjoy contact with other animals and objects: Summer months also mean more trips to the dog park, on family vacations and to the kennel if your pet can’t travel when you do, increasing the chances your pet will come in contact with other animals and dangers. Make sure your pets vaccinations are up to date to lessen their risk of disease and be cautious of other dangers such as snakes, foxtails, fleas, ticks, cooking utencils, foil, and foods that are dangerous such as grapes, corn-on-the-cob and bones from meat.
Safety in the water
Pets, like small children, face the risk of drowning from not knowing how to swim. Be aware of the dangers that pools, rivers, lakes and the ocean present to your pet…
- Limit access to pools: Many dogs don’t know how to swim so make sure your pool is securely fenced off from the rest of your yard and the gate is always closed when people enter and leave the pool area.
- Invest in a life preserver: Most dogs even if they can swim are not great swimmers, so if you plan to be in the water with your pet, it would be a wise investment to purchase a life preserver made to fit your pet.
- Limit time in water: If your dog enjoys swimming, be sure to limit the amount of time spent in the water. A dog that is exhausted may not be able to swim back to shore and is at great risk of drowning. Also, many dogs are more prone to ear infections, so ask your Vet how to properly clean and care for your pets ears, especially after swimming