For many people, the summer months are the perfect time to spend time outdoors with their pets. Parks, swimming, and long walks in nature are on the list for many, and for good reason. Summer is the ideal time to play with your pet outside, but you must take a few precautions to ensure they are safe. The high temperature during summer can easily cause pets to overheat or dehydrate, potentially putting their lives in danger. If you plan on taking your pet outside this summer, here are nine basic tips to keep them safe.
1. Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Just like humans, your animal friends need plenty of water to stay healthy, especially during the summer months. From a scientific perspective, water is necessary to facilitate important biochemical functions in the body – in other words, the body runs on water. Also, like humans, animals are also composed primarily of water. To ensure your pets remain hydrated, it can help to place water bowls both inside and outside and refill them with cool, fresh water regularly.
2. Don’t Let Pets Walk on Hot Surfaces
Your pet’s paws are more sensitive than you probably imagine, so you will want to make sure they don’t burn during the summer. Like humans, animals can burn their paws on hot surfaces, such as cement and asphalt – this is especially true in large cities where surfaces harbor more heat during the daytime. To minimize the possibility of burns, try to walk your pet early in the morning or in the evening. If you must take your pet outside during the hottest part of the day, try to keep them on the grass or sand.
3. Don’t Leave Your Pet Unsupervised Around Water
Most people are aware of cats’ strong aversion to water, and most would never dream of allowing their cat to dive headfirst into a lake or pond. Unfortunately, many people don’t know all dogs cannot swim. Some dogs’ inability to tread water is directly linked to their physiology – some dogs literally do not possess the ability to paddle or make other movements required for swimming. Other breeds, especially those that are already prone to breathing problems may have difficulty keeping their heads and noses above the water.
Regardless of the reason, the following breeds of dogs should never be allowed to swim without proper training and supervision:
Extremely muscular or top-heavy dogs may also be unable to swim. The list above is not complete, so pet owners should talk to their vet before allowing their dog to swim.
4. Monitor Your Pet’s Eating Habits
Many people consider grilling or going on picnics a way of life during the summer, and naturally, taking your pet to such an event can be fun. Unfortunately, not all human foods are suitable for dogs and cats, so you should be sure to closely monitor what your dogs are eating. Some foods may simply result in a stomach ache for your four-legged friend, while others may cause life-threating reactions. If others get the urge to feed your pet, kindly explain why it may not be a good idea.
5. Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car
Never, ever, under any circumstances, leave your pet in a hot car! This is arguably the most important summer safety tip, but unfortunately, many pets are killed each year by inattentive owners who simply need to “run in and run out” of a store, school, or home. The inside of a car can quickly heat up, and in many cases, the interior of a car can heat up to 130 degrees in a fairly short period of time in extreme heat. At such temperatures, pets can suffer from organ failure, heat stroke and even death.
6. Don’t Shave Your Pet Without Consulting a Vet First
Grooming your dog is a must, and for many people, a periodic trim is always on the agenda. In general, this is okay, but for some breeds, their long hair helps them remain cool in high temperature. This hair can also prevent sunburn and heat exhaustion, so you should always speak with your vet before giving your pet a shave during the summer. If you do choose to shave your pet’s hair, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen and insect repellant to your furry buddy before going out in the sun for an extended amount of time.
7. Avoid Leaving Pets Around Open Windows or Doors
On pleasant days, it can be tempting to open your windows or doors for a bit of fresh air. If you don’t have any pets, this is no problem, but if you do, you may want to be careful. Pets, especially dogs and cats, can easily exit through open windows and doors if they don’t have screens. Instead of opening screenless doors and windows, just keep your A/C at a comfortable temperature instead of leaving things to chance.
8. Don’t Set Off Fireworks Near Your Pets
For many people, it is necessary to use fireworks during Fourth of July celebrations. Fireworks can be exciting and beautiful, but they can also cause stress, disorientation, and fear in animals due to the loud noises and bright colors they produce. To prevent any potential problems, just avoid using fireworks around your pets altogether.
9. Watch Out for Pesticides and Other Potentially Poisonous Chemicals
Lawn maintenance is a way of life during the spring and summer for many homeowners, and to ensure their grass, trees, and flowers are not attacked by insects, many homeowners turn to pesticides. The use of weed killer and other pesticides are common in residential areas, so you will want to prevent your dog or cat from eating random plants during the summer. If you believe your pet consumed a poisonous substance, immediately contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center (run by the ASPCA).
10. Enjoy the Summer Safely
Summer can be a wonderful time for both humans and animals, especially when caution is observed. If you own a pet, the preventative measures listed above can keep your pet safe, happy, and healthy during the hotter months.
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