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Summer Pet Care & Safety 101

Keep in mind that summer’s staples—hot days outside, parties with friends, fireworks, and travel—can expose your pet to many hazards.

Dr. Felicity Moffatt
Summer Pet Care & Safety 101

Key takeaway

Summertime offers you and your pet endless adventure possibilities. But keep in mind that summer’s staples—hot days outside, parties with friends, fireworks, and travel—can expose your pet to many hazards. Ensure your pet stays safe by following our Dr. Treat team’s summer pet care and safety tips.

E
nsure your pet stays safe by following our Dr. Treat team’s summer pet care and safety tips.

#1: Help your pet beat the heat

High temperatures and humidity can easily cause your pet to overheat, leading to potential organ failure and sometimes death. Prevent your pet from experiencing a heat-related emergency, and keep them cool and comfortable when the temperatures soar, by following these recommendations:

Early morning or evening beach walks are fun
  • Avoid the midday heat — Walk your pet during the early morning or late evening to avoid extreme temperatures and high humidity.
  • Protect your pet’s paws — Hot surfaces like concrete, metal, and asphalt can burn your pet’s paw pads. Before heading out for a walk, place your hand on the pavement to test the temperature. If you cannot keep your hand comfortably on the surface for 10 seconds, it is too hot for your pet’s paw pads. On days like that, keep on the grass, so your pet’s paw pads do not get burned.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car — According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in 70-degree weather, a parked car’s interior can reach 100 degrees in only 20 minutes. Parking in the shade, or leaving the windows cracked open does not help, so you should never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. You might be tempted to bring your pet along for a short errand, but the safest place for them is home.
  • Watch for overheating signs — Your pet cannot tell you when they are too hot, so you must be able to recognize their heat-stress signs and know how to cool down your pet if they overheat. You must act quickly if your pet is experiencing heatstroke, and immediately take them to the nearest emergency clinic if they show any of the following signs:
    • Panting
    • Vomiting
    • Excessive drooling
    • Red gums
    • Rapid breathing and heart rate
    • Lethargy and weakness
    • Seizure
    • Collapse

#2: Keep your pet hydrated

During warm weather, your pet will quickly go through a bowl of water, so ensure you provide them with plenty of fresh water at home, refill their bowl often, and ensure they always have access to fresh water when exercising outside. Add ice cubes to your pet’s bowl to keep the water cool. You may also want to make ice cubes using water-rich foods like blueberries, peas, watermelon, and bananas for a tasty, hydrating treat.

Water, water water.

#3: Keep your pet safe poolside

A dip in the pool is a great way to cool down with your pet on a hot summer day, but you must always supervise them in and around the swimming pool, regardless of their swimming abilities. If your pet is not a confident swimmer, suffers from arthritis, or tires easily, put them in a life jacket. To prevent a devastating accident, ensure your backyard swimming pool is secured by a fence, gate, and cover.

A good dip in the pool

#4: Prepare your pet for fireworks

You may enjoy July Fourth fireworks’ crackle, but their unexpected explosions may terrify your pet. Prepare your pet for a fear-free holiday by planning ahead, and doing the following:

Fireworks aren’t for everyone

Leave your pet home —If you plan to attend a fireworks display, do your pet a favor, and leave them safely at home. The crowds, loud noises, and strangers can make any pet anxious.

Create your pet’s safe space — Create your pet’s safe haven at home before the fireworks start. Provide plenty of treats and toys to keep them busy and distracted, and play background noise—calm music or the television—at a low volume.

Ask your veterinarian about anxiety medication — If your pet is extremely fearful of fireworks, consult with one of our Dr. Treat veterinarians before July Fourth. To ensure your pet stays calm, we may recommend you give your pet a short-term sedative or calming supplement before all the noise begins.

#5: Keep your pet parasite-free

Summer is prime feeding time for parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, which often carry tapeworms, heartworm, and diseases that can seriously harm your pet’s health. Our Dr. Treat veterinarians recommend you have your pet tested for heartworm and tick-borne diseases annually, and administer parasite preventive medication monthly.

Summer is prime feeding time for parasites
“Remember that many foods safe for people are toxic to pets, so keep party snacks out of reach, and do not allow your guests to feed your pet table scraps.”

#6: Beware of pet toxins

Backyard barbecues are a fun part of summer, but always keep your pet’s safety in mind while planning your get-togethers. During a party, you may be unable to keep an eye on your pet, and your pet’s eyes—and nose—will be on the tasty party food. Remember that many foods safe for people are toxic to pets, so keep party snacks out of reach, and do not allow your guests to feed your pet table scraps.  Common foods that are toxic for pets include:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
Do not allow your guests to feed your pet table scraps

Everything is better with a pet—especially summer fun. By following our Dr. Treat safety tips, you can focus on enjoying your time with your pet, knowing they are safe. To learn about our Dr. Treat membership program’s additional benefits, visit our website, and join our waiting list today.

Written by:

Dr. Felicity Moffatt

Dr. Felicity Moffat is a Lead Veterinarian at Dr Treat. She also loves to write about veterinary care.

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