These glorious summer days are all about squeezing in some R&R. Those of us with pets can attest to how much many pets enjoy basking in the sun or playing in the water... and how much we love watching them enjoy themselves so much! Let's all keep our pets safe while we have fun this summer. Here are a few summertime hazards for pets to keep in mind:
It's very easy to get overheated when relaxing or playing outside, and that goes for your pet, too. Walk your dog in the early mornings or in the evenings when it's cooler. During the day, make sure pets have access to both shade and to drinking water whenever they want it. Flat-faced breeds like Pugs and Pekingese are more susceptible to heatstroke although any dog can get it.
Signs of heatstroke include: heavy panting, a glassy/glazed look in the eyes, drooling (the saliva will be thick and tacky), dark-red tongue and gums, sticky / tacky gums, weakness, unresponsiveness, collapse, dizziness and disorientation. Call your vet immediately for advice if you notice these signs in your pet.
And remember: Never leave your pets unattended in the car, even when parked in the shade with the windows cracked open. Temperatures in the car rise rapidly and pets can suffer heatstroke in just a few minutes - it can even cause death. Leave your pet at home when he will be cooler and safe.
A hike in the woods is a wonderful way to get some exercise as well as enjoy some peaceful bonding time with the dog. Be watchful for wildlife, though - animals are out foraging for food and caring for their babies. Wildlife and pets do not mix, so keep your dogs securely leashed where required, and otherwise ensure they have reliable recall. Do not allow dogs to chase wildlife even 'in fun'!
Sure it's fun to include your dog when you're swimming or boating (be sure your dog wears a life jacket!). And for the most part, everyone has fun! But being aware of water safety will make sure your pet stays safe Things like skin irritations, ingestation of inappropriate pool or salt water, or exhaustion from swimming can all occur.
The heat combined with exercise and play can easily lead to dehydration. Always make available a supply of fresh, cool water for your pet. You can even freeze containers of water, which will gradually melt and keep the water cooler, longer.
Whether's a holiday celebration, a local festival, or just some people out having fun, fireworks are not an uncommon sight or sound during the summer. Many pets are frightened of the loud bangs the fireworks make. There have been countless reports of pets being spooked by the noise and running away! So if you know that there are fireworks, bring your pet inside the house where he is safe. If he must be outside, make sure he is securely leashed and cannot slip his collar. An up-to-date ID tag is always a must.
We rarely think about how hot the ground is since most of us wear shoes when we're out and about. Dogs and cats, however, can easily burn their paw pads on hot asphalt, hot sand, or other walking surfaces. If you cannot easily and comfortably place your bare foot or the palm of your hand on the ground for at least 30 seconds, then it's likely too hot for your pet to walk on. Keep him comfortable in the shade or inside the house until it cools off.
More people are out and about when the weather is nice, plus there are visiting tourists, too. Watch for busier traffic even in dog-walking areas where it's normally quiet. Keep your pet appropriately restrained and under control.
These nasty little parasites can be torture for our pets. Flea bites are intensely itchy, while some types of ticks can transmit disease. If you live in an area (or are traveling to an area) where fleas or ticks are an issue, discuss the best form of preventive treatment with your vet. If you're not sure if they're an issue, ask your vet for advice.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable at times. Never leave your pet behind if you are being evacuated. Plan ahead for emergencies and pack a "grab-and-go" bag for your pet that is well-stocked with disaster supplies.
Ultimately, use your own good judgment on keeping your pet safe this summer. Enjoy the sunny days, whether you're hiking through the woods or splashing in the water, or just relaxing under a tree with your pet by your side!
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace." (Milan Kundera)