In the warmer months, most people and even some of their pets enjoy spending more time outdoors. However, summertime presents its own unique challenges. Injuries and illnesses in our pets can be avoided with common sense and safety precautions. Here are ten things you can do to keep your pet safe this summer:
PREVENTING FLEE, TICK, AND PARASITE INFESTATIONS
Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are a year-round problem in places like Florida, but they really start to spread out in the summer. These insects are not only a nuisance to your pet, but they can also spread dangerous diseases like Lyme disease, heartworms, tapeworms, and Bartonella (commonly known as cat-scratch disease, though dogs actually carry more species of this nasty bacteria than cats).
Keeping your pet free of parasites calls for a comprehensive strategy and constant vigilance on your part, as well as the use of effective preventatives. Consult your veterinarian about the specific requirements in your area.
KEEP CATS AND DOGS COOL
Heatstroke is fatal for pets; therefore, you should provide shade and plenty of water whenever your animal companion is outside. To extend how long the water stays cold, put some ice cubes or ice blocks in it. A cooling vest can help keep your dog comfortable in hot and humid weather. Avoid exercising outdoors with your dog during the hottest part of the day. Keep to the mornings and evenings only. Pekes, Pugs, Bulldogs, and other brachycephalic dogs, as well as huskies, shepherds, collies, some terriers, and retrievers, all have a greater need for this than other breeds.
Recognize When to Keep Them Inside
It goes without saying that you should never leave your dog in a car, especially when the temperature outside is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The gain in temperature is unaffected by cracking the windows. The danger is present even at moderate temperatures. Even a car parked in the shade can get dangerously hot on a sunny day, reaching temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in just a few minutes when left in direct sunlight.
During experiments, a car parked in the sun at 95 degrees Fahrenheit reached a scorching 157 degrees, which is more than hot enough to kill a dog. Even though the windows were cracked, one dog still perished after being left in a car on a sunny, 67°F day. Your dog is best left at home while you run errands. Dogs don’t have sweat glands, so they must rely on their panting to regulate their body temperature. If the air in the car is at or above the dog’s normal body temperature (roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit), the dog’s internal temperature can quickly rise to lethal levels (over 107 degrees Fahrenheit). Dogs suffering from heatstroke exhibit many different symptoms, including heavy panting, salivation, disorientation, agitation, a rapid heartbeat, lethargy, vomiting, seizures, coma, and ultimately death.
Keep track of the vehicle’s location, color, model, make, and license plate number if you see a dog abandoned in a hot or cold car, and then call the local humane society or police, who can usually break into the vehicle to rescue the dog. You can ask the store manager to page the driver if you have a good idea of which store he or she might be in. If the animal is showing signs of heatstroke, take the following measures right away to bring down its temperature:
- Take the animal somewhere cool and shady, preferably with air conditioning.
- Immerse her in cool (not cold) water, use ice packs, or place them on her head, neck, and chest.
- Give the dog a few sips of cool water or ice cubes to lick.
- Quickly seek out a vet’s care.
- Even pets can get sunburned.
- Pets with white fur around the face and ears may benefit from sunscreen, even when indoors and sunbathing through windows. Areas with thin fur and pale skin are especially vulnerable. It’s important to use pet-friendly sunscreen. Zinc oxide and salicylate chemicals should be avoided at all costs. When applying sunscreen to your pet’s nose, you should use a product that is safe for pets, as they may lick it off.
PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM CHEMICALS
In the summer, many plants that are harmful to pets are in bloom. Many parts of the country have toxic mushroom populations, so it’s important to keep an eye out for them. There are many poisonous plants, including all bulbs. Light bulbs can easily be mistaken for chew toys for dogs.
There are also chemical risks during the summer. Leaking vehicles pose a threat because antifreeze is extremely poisonous. If there is a spill, make sure to clean it up right away. People are also applying yard and lawn treatments like fertilizers, mulches, and pesticides now. Flags should be raised by professionals, but some do-it-yourselfers may not bother. Keep your dog from exploring unfamiliar yards, as they may contain chemicals or cocoa mulch (which is poisonous if ingested).
BEWARE OF ANIMALS
In the summer, when you and your dog are out and about, you might run into some unwelcome and potentially dangerous wildlife, such as skunks (which can spread rabies) or porcupines (which can quell your pet).
Spiders, scorpions, and rattlesnakes are just some of the venomous animals that can cause serious harm. Even if your pet only licks at the toad, the poisons it carries could be fatal. Be cautious about letting your dog outside in the evening or during periods of heavy rainfall because toads tend to congregate in these conditions.
DON’T LET WOUNDS LAY UNCOVERED
Sticky or spiky seed cases are common in summer grasses. Burrs and foxtails can penetrate the skin if they get caught in the paws or the fur. Foxtails can cause potentially fatal infections if they make their way deep inside the body, particularly the chest or abdomen. Make sure your pet’s fur doesn’t harbor any of these nasty items by checking it after every outing.
KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE ON THE ROAD
Dogs can suffer serious injuries from riding in the bed of a pickup or sticking their heads out the window. Eye irritation from dust and gravel is just the beginning. Jumping or falling from vehicles is a leading cause of injury and death for thousands of dogs every year. Even in a car with a solid roof, pets can still be injured by being thrown around during an emergency stop.
The best place for a pet on a car trip of any length is the back seat, secured in a carrier or safety harness. Accidents are more likely to happen when pets are roaming free in a vehicle. Safety harnesses for dogs, also known as “doggie seat belts,” keep pets secure in the car and ensure they don’t bolt out the door if the unexpected happens.
While driving, cats should always be contained in a carrier. Due to the increased sense of security, many cats actually prefer it. Before opening the car door, make sure the cat is safely restrained inside. It’s possible to teach some cats to walk on a leash and harness, but you shouldn’t start training them that morning.
BEAR IDENTIFICATION AT ALL TIMES
No matter where your pet goes or what they do, they need to have some form of identification on them at all times. Breakaway collars are recommended for the safety of your cat. Microchipping your pet is a good idea for safety reasons. The sad reality is that lost pets are often gone for good, despite the widespread belief that microchips cause cancer. Thanks to microchips, thousands of lost animals have been reunited with their owners.
Get ready for anything
Always have a first aid kit on hand, whether you’re at home or out and about. Don’t worry, there are emergency kits designed specifically for canines and felines. Flower essences can help soothe your pet and keep them from panicking while you administer first aid or transport them to the veterinarian.
And that wraps it up! Those are our top ten summertime safety recommendations for your pet. After taking the necessary precautions, you and your pet can finally enjoy the summer without stress.