Summer is here and with hot weather and traveling, we need to take extra measures to make sure our furry friends are protected. Check out these pet owner tips for the season:
- Familiarize yourself with signs of overheating for animals. These can include excessive panting, thick drooling, an increased heart rate, weakness, dizziness and dry or bright red tongue/gums. Additional signs can be diarrhea, vomiting and an elevated body temperature of over 103 degrees. Keep a careful eye out!
- Pets can become dehydrated easily, so make sure you’re providing them with plenty of fresh water and that they have a shady spot to relax when outside. Carrying a collapsible water bowl is a great way to hydrate on the go!
- Never leave your pet in a hot car. A car can overheat even if the windows are cracked, the interior of your car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes! Shady spots offer very little protection on hot days. If you must leave your pet in the car, make sure it is running with the air conditioning on high and there is plenty of accessible water for your animal. It’s always best to leave your pet safely at home!
- Do not shave your dog. While trimming hair is fine, dogs’ coats are what protect them from sunburn and overheating. Dogs with thin or white fur are more susceptible to sunburn, so if you want to use sunscreen on your pet, just make sure it is specifically labeled for animal use.
- When going on walks, be mindful of where and how long you walk your pet. On a sunny day, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get extremely hot and burn your pup’s paws, so try and find shady and/or grass-covered places. Don’t make your walks too long because while exercise is important, over-exercise can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Keep barbecues safe. While they can be a lot of fun for humans, a lot of food and drinks found at barbecues can be toxic to pets. Keep all alcoholic beverages away from your animals, as well as foods such as grapes, raisins, onions and chocolate.
- Never let your pets near fireworks. Pets running freely around fireworks are at risk for severe burns and fatal injuries. Some fireworks contain chemicals that are toxic to pets like arsenic and potassium nitrate. It is important to remember that a dog’s hearing is much more enhanced than ours. Many are afraid of loud noises, sometimes causing them to become scared or disoriented. It’s best to keep your pets safely at home or safely indoors in a quiet place.
- Keep parasites away. Ask your vet about the best prescriptions or over-the-counter solutions to keep your pet safe from ticks, mosquitos and fleas. Regularly check your animal for ticks after they’ve been outside. Before applying bug spray, make sure it is specifically labeled for animal use.
- Dogs enjoy cooling off in bodies of water like a pool, lake or ocean. Be careful where you let them go. Not all dogs swim well, and ones that do sometimes have trouble getting out of the water. Considering buying your pet a brightly colored life vest, that way they’re more visible to others and will stay afloat in case of emergency.