4 Life-Saving Tips You Need to Protect Your Pets This Summer
Our pets are part of the family, and we want the best for them. While many of us know that extra care is needed during any extreme temperatures, there’s some common sense things that can get overlooked!
We’ve put together our top 4 safety reminders to keep you and your animal friends happy throughout the summer months.
1) No Alone Time in the Car
One of the hottest (no pun intended) topics in recent years is the number of fatal canine casualties resulting from being left alone in parked cars. In a number of countries it has even been made punishable by law. If you can’t handle being left in a parked car in 35 degree weather then your furry companion can’t either.
Even with windows cracked and the AC on, dogs have been known to overheat in under 10 minutes. Take your pet with you, and if you anticipate this might be an issue, leave them at home. Long hair and snub-nosed breeds are even more prone to heat stroke, along with young, old, ill, and overweight pets.
Signs of heatstroke include: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, laboured breathing, excessive thirst and drooling, fever, vomiting, unconsciousness and lack of coordination. If you notice any of these signs contact your vet immediately.
2) Walk Outside Peak Heat Hours
Have you ever tried a lengthy (or short) barefoot walk on sizzling concrete in the midday sun? It’s not pleasant. Our pets paws are very sensitive to heat and are prone to blister when the temperature climbs. Walk them outside the 12pm-3pm bracket, and keep longer walks to early mornings and evenings. If you have access to green space even better!
Giving your pet a nice trim in the summer definitely helps, but DON’T SHAVE them. Often overlooked is the fact that all animals can actually get a sunburn. Repeated exposure heightens their risk to skin cancer much like ours. If you use sunscreen on dog make sure it’s specifically for animals.
3) Keep Water Clean & Fresh
All your pets should have access to clean, fresh and cool water at all times to prevent dehydration and help regulate their body temperature. Changing the water often also discourages your pets from seeking stagnant outdoor water sources, which contain dangerous bacteria and parasites like Giardiasis and Leptospirosis.
If you’ve got the space for a kiddy pool, dogs love to splash around and cool off in them, and letting them play in the sprinklers when they are running is also another fun option.
4) Lawn and Balcony Precautions
As we’ve mentioned, it’s important not to let your pets out in the heat especially during peak times of day. Make sure there are shady areas for them to escape to when you do, and not to leave dogs unattended near a pool if you have one. Not all of them can swim that well. Never leave a caged pet (such as a bunny, hamster, guinea pig, turtle or bird) out in direct sunlight in very hot weather either, even for short periods of time. A shaded area during early or late hours is ideal, but never unattended, because those are ideal hours for predators too.
There are a few other outdoor precautions that need to be taken. First, be very cautious if your lawn is sprayed with pesticides, and if any rodent poison has been left around. Second, make sure your pets have received necessary protection from parasites like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and heartworm. These are more common in the summer and associated with various, sometimes deadly diseases that can also be contracted by you. And finally, if you live in an apartment with a balcony or leave your windows open for the summer breeze, watch out for ‘high rise syndrome’. Many more accidents of pets falling are reported in the summer.
Summer is a great time for fun with your pets, so with these few things in mind, make sure to take advantage of the forest and beach walks, parks and backyard lounging together!