Summertime is fun, and if you're careful in the hot weather, you and your pets are in for a great time! Our pets aren't as well adapted to the elements as wild animals are, and our companions can be as susceptible to extreme temps as much as their owners are. What that means for your pet is when temperatures get extreme, pet safety should be your primary concern.
Five ways to stay safe while enjoying summer with your pet:
Respect the heat. People aren't the only ones that may be overwhelmed by a hot summer. We can sweat, but our pets have limited ability to deal with high temperatures. Instead of sweating, our dogs release heat through their paw pads and by panting. On a hot day that may not be enough to keep them safe. Humans can sweat through all of the skin on their body, and we're able to cool down more effectively. One big concern for pets is dehydration, make sure you and your pets are well hydrated. Pets that are at higher risk include pets with flat faces like pugs and bulldogs which aren't able to pant as efficiently as animals with longer noses. Senior and overweight animals are more susceptible to heatstroke too. Another reason to keep your pets fit and trim. Always allow your pets to have access to plenty of fresh, cool water.
Safely keep bugs away. Bugs! There's a reason they're called that! Ticks and other summer insects can carry diseases, and often the treatment to prevent them creates problems for pets. Another summer pet safety issue is the presence of ticks and other summer insects. Beyond bugs, lawns can also be dangerous to your companions. Fertilizers and pesticides may keep a lawn looking plush, but those chemicals can be hazardous for your pet. Watch out for the little yard signs for yards that have chemical treatments on them. Talk with your veterinarian about the best ways to protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and other summer insects.
Keep an eye out for antifreeze. Antifreeze can leak out of cars when they overheat, potentially leaving antifreeze puddles on the ground. The sweet taste of antifreeze may tempt your pet to lick up the fluid. Once a pet ingests this toxic substance, it is potentially lethal. Pay attention when you're outside, and make sure your pets stay clear of any antifreeze.
Sunscreen. Some pets, particularly those with short fine hair and pink skin, may be susceptible to sunburn. Talk with your veterinarian about sunscreen products that are safe for your pets and remember to apply the sunscreen regularly. Do not use sunscreen or insect repellents that are not explicitly designed for use on animals. Certain sunscreens can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy in pets.
Practice water safety. Having your pet be safe in and around the water is about planning. Many dogs enjoy pools or the beach and swimming can be fun, but watch your pets anytime they are in or near the water. Even strong swimmers could get into trouble getting out of a pool, or by getting trapped by ropes and other obstacles. There are many high-quality dog life vests, and as long as you teach your dog to enjoy wearing one, they can provide years of water enjoyment.
Warm weather pet safety isn't tricky, it just takes a little thought, planning and paying attention. Protect your pets from too much heat, sun, and other summer dangers and enjoy your time together.