Dogs and cats can suffer from heat strike, sunburn, and dehydration during the summer months. They also can face other risks from summertime activities, such as swimming and fireworks.
Here's how to make sure your pets have fun and stay safe this summer.
Keep pets our of cars
Most dogs love going for car rides- cats, not so much. In either case, you should leave your pets at home when it's hot.
The temperature inside a car can rise to a dangerous level within minutes, even if you leave the windows cracked- and your pet can suffer heat stroke almost instantly.
If you need to go indoors to do an errand, have a passenger stay inside the car with you pet- and keep the air conditioning running.
Practice water safety
If you're planning to take your dog to the lake this summer, be sure he wears a life jacket.
Whether your dog is playing in the lake or riding on a boat, a life jacket can keep him safe from drowning. Look for one that is a bright color so you can see your dog more easily- and so others, such as boaters, can see him too.
Life jackets should fit snugly to leave just enough room to slip two fingers between your dog and the life jacket. Use a tape measure to find the best fit.
Just as people require extra hydration during the hot summer months, your pets do, too. Being outdoors in the hot weather, or going for long walks in the sun, can lead to dehydration, so be sure your dog drinks a lot of water when it's hot. As a rule, dogs should drink one ounce of water, for every pound of body weight- and even more if they are very active or outdoors in the heat.
Always leave a large bowl of cold water indoors and outdoors for your dog to drink. Also consider adding ice cubes- many dogs enjoy this special treat.
And be sure to watch for signs of dehydration. A dry nose or gums, low energy levels and sunken eyes are signs that your dog is dehydrated. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, contact your veterinarian. Dogs that are severely dehydrate might require IV fluids.
Keep pets indoors
Just as you should keep your pets indoors when it is very cold outside, you should keep them indoors when it is very hot.
Animals with flat faces- pugs and Persian cats, for example- are especially susceptible to heat stroke. Keep them inside with the air conditioning turned on. If you don't have air conditioning, put them in the basement or other cool area of the house, and be sure to leave out plenty of water.
Take walks wisely
Afternoon walks not only can lead to dehydration, but the cement also can burn your dog's paws. Try to schedule walks in the evening, early morning or on a cooler summer days.
Use flea and tick prevention
Fleas and ticks are most active in the summer, so be sure your dog and cat are properly protected.
Use a flea and tick preventative, which can be applied onto your pet's skin or taken orally, to keep these parasites away. And if you suspect your pet has fleas, or if you find a tick, don't panic. Inspect you pet for leas by running a double sided pet comb through his fur and put a white towel under him to look for any black specks that can fall off. If you find a tick, pull it out carefully with tweezers and monitor your pet for any changes in behavior.
Although they have fur, dogs can get a sunburn- especially on their nose, ears and stomach areas.
To avoid this, always apply sunscreen to your dog is he is going to be outdoors in the summer. Look for a sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 30 and that offers UVA and UVB protection.
Keep pets away from fireworks
Summer holidays, such as the Fourth of July, give us colorful nighttime displays- something that scares many pets. Dogs and cats do not like the loud noises of fireworks, and each year many pets try to run away to get away from the sound.
Always bring your pets inside when there are fireworks. You can turn on a television or radio to help quiet the noise.