Summer Safety Tips for Your Pets

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by Jen Jones

Summer is a fun time of the year, but it also brings with it some dangers for your beloved pets. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during the hot summer months.

  • Never leave your pet in the car. A car heats up quickly on a warm day even when it is parked in the shade. If the temperature is above 70 degrees, please leave your pet at home.
  • Never leave your pet unsupervised near a grill. Dogs, and even cats, are attracted to the smell of cooking food and may to try to reach for it resulting in burnt paws or face; even worse, the grill could topple over onto your pet! Please, secure your pet on a leash or in the house while grilling.
  • Do not share your food. Summer barbeque food can be fatty and may lead to very painful pancreatitis in your dog.
  • Keep your pets in the house during fireworks. July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, as more pets go missing on the night of July 4th than any other night. They try to run away from the noise of the fireworks and become disoriented easily. Never tie your dog in the yard during the fireworks;  they can strangle on their leashes while trying to escape the sound and light display.
  • Keep your dog’s fur long.  Many people cut their dog’s fur short in the summer thinking it will keep them cool, yet it has the opposite effect. This exposes skin which is not normally exposed to very strong sun, and can result in sunburn and eventually skin cancer. Long hair actually insulates your dog from the heat and sun and improves better circulation which allows the dog to regulate his/her body temperature.
  • Avoid walking your dog during the hottest and most humid part of the day, usually between 12 and 4 p.m. Take frequent breaks, walk slower, and shorten the walks. Always bring plenty of water.
  • Keep short-snouted pets inside during the heat. This include dogs such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Bulldogs, Pekingeses, and Boston Terriers, and cats such as Persians and Himalayans. The short snout makes it harder for them to cool themselves.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If your dog begins exhibiting symptoms such as heavy panting, dry or bright-red gums, thick drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and instability, get him or her to a cool place, cover with a cool, damp towel and get to the nearest veterinarian. DO NOT PLACE THE ANIMAL IN COLD WATER! This could result in shock.
  • Have your dog on heartworm prevention. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and summer is prime time for these pests.
  • Never leave your dog unattended near water. It is a myth that all dogs are natural swimmers. If you will be swimming with your dog in a pool, teach him/her how to exit the pool via a ladder or stairs. Always put a lifejacket on your dog when near water. Watch for signs of exhaustion, as they are not always the best judge of when it is time to stop playing.
  • Keep plant food away from your pet. While great for your garden, it can be lethal to animals even in small doses.

Following these simple safety tips will help you and your pet have a fun and safe summer!


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