Top 10 summer tips to keep your pet safe in the hot daysJune 29, 2018
Summer has finally arrived! While we get into our summer routine of taking our pets along for picnics, long walks and sunset strolls, there are many things we must take into consideration so we don’t harm our four-legged friends. Let’s look at some top-rated safety tips to help make sure our pets are happy and healthy this summer.
- Avoid leaving your animal in a hot car. When traveling with your pet, make sure that they are safely secured in their seat. You might also want to maintain a cool temperature in the vehicle; remember that it can take only minutes for them to develop heat stroke. If you need to run errands and leave the car, try to take your pet with you. Its better to tie them up outside the establishment for a few minutes, then to leave them in the car.
- Make sure your pet is up to date with their vaccines. Just like humans, we need our regular doctor visits to check our health and overall well being. Dogs and cats need certain vaccines and medications to help prevent against heartworm, lime disease, and other parasites that may harm them. By insuring the safety of your pet, you are also protecting yourself, as some of these diseases can be transmitted to humans.
- Access to cool drinking water. Our pets consume a lot of water when temperatures rise. Other than panting and drinking often, they don’t have any other way to regulate their body temperature. Try to avoid too much direct sunlight; draw the blinds to offer more shade and cooler areas for them to enjoy. Even if they are in the safety of their own home, they can still get minor heatstroke from laying in the sun; so, have multiple water bowls available throughout your home. We want them to avoid finishing one bowl and having no other water for the rest of the day. Some companies even make water fountains for animals that allow constant circulation, making the water cooler to drink.
- Cool pads make happy pets. Dogs go for walks and cats browse the neighbourhood. In suburban areas with less grass, the hot asphalt can cause issues and injuries to little paws; try to avoid walking on very hot sidewalks with your pet and instead guide them towards green patches. To avoid burnt pads, there are several products that can be applied to paws to keep them safe from road rash and burns.
- Pets & Sunburns. More common in short coat pets, sunburn can be extremely dangerous. Just like humans, pets can easily get sunburns, more commonly on the ears, neck, upper back and belly, from reflections off the water and sand. Multiple sunburns can cause spots and eventually cancer. If your pet has a short coat, or if you have a hairless cat, talk to your veterinarian or local pet retailer for suggestions on sunscreens and safe preventative measures for your pet.
- Not all pets ‘doggie paddle’. While most dogs do swim, be aware of them being vulnerable to fatigue; some dogs jump into the lake and play relentlessly so it’s important to get them to take breaks. Keep them close to shore for a bit, provide a chew toy or something that will allow them to catch their breath. If your dog is playing fetch, try not to throw the toy too far away. Like humans, dogs have had to be rescued from trying to swim too far and getting too tired to come back. For the safety of your dog, only allow them to swim and play in water that is waist deep, so you can get in with them, or reach them, if necessary. It is important for pets to be able to cool off on hot days but with safety first in mind!
- Keep your dog on a leash. Spring and summer seasons mean all sorts of new sights, smells and temptations that might draw your pet away from you. While cats are more prone to returning to their homes, dogs can easily get distracted and follow a scent for miles. Depending on the area you are visiting, a metal stake can be purchased from a retailer to dig into the grass and attach a leash to, allowing your pet some freedom but still maintaining their safety from getting lost or roaming into the street with unsuspecting vehicles.
- Calorie counting for pets? After a long winter, most pets gain a few extra pounds. Summer is the perfect season to increase activity levels and add more stimulation to your pet’s routine. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you increase your pet’s longevity by 2-3 years, compared to that of an overweight, inactive pet. Make sure not to over-exert your animal, but by increasing playtime, walks and maintaining a healthy diet, you can guarantee a happier pet.
- Who needs a schedule? In the summer, we like to enjoy longer daylight hours and so do our pets. This means longer walks, hikes and even water time, while always being mindful of high humidity and peak hours in the day. Try to get outside before the rise of the humidex or before the sun gets too hot; before 10 am and after 4 pm are the ideal times for your pet to be enjoying the outdoors. In between those hours, try to limit the time they spend outside in direct sunlight and allow them the option to retreat into their home if they want.
- Don’t smell the roses! The spring and summer seasons bring out the flower blooms we so anticipate during the winter months. Did you know that some plants are hazardous and poisonous for cats and dogs, putting their safety at risk? Although they look lovely in our living rooms and outdoor gardens, here is a list of some highly dangerous plants and flowers that if ingested, can cause severe reactions and in some cases, death: Lilies, Hyacinths, Daffodils, Dieffenbachia, Sago Palm, Lilly of the Valley and Hydrangeas. If you have some of these plants at home, try to keep them out of reach of your pets!
Follow these helpful 10 tips to Summertime Safety and your pets with thank you with a wag or sway of their tail!