Summer Pet Safety Tips
From trips to the beach to camping and hiking, the summer season can mean a lot of fun outdoors for you and your pet. But high temperatures and scorching sun can also create dangerous or even deadly situations. Follow these safety tips to keep your cat or dog out of harm’s way in the summer.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
First and foremost, all pet owners should know that heat stroke is a medical emergency. If your dog or cat has been exposed to high-heat conditions and suspect your pet has heatstroke, bring them to your nearest hospital immediately. If your local hospital is not open, bring your pet to an emergency clinic.
Recognizing the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs and cats
Your pet can’t tell you when something isn’t right, but knowing how to identify behavioral differences as heatstroke signs could be life saving. Common signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats include:
In the event that you need to take your pet in for emergency care, you can help to lower your pet’s temperature on the way to the hospital by applying towels soaked in cool water to hairless areas of your pet, especially the feet. If possible, put your pet’s face near a fan or cool air vent.
- Exaggerated panting
- Brick red gums
- Rapid heartbeat
- High fever
- Staring/anxious expression
Summer Car Safety for Dogs and Cats
The most important advice we can give to pet owners is to never leave your pet in the car, especially during the summer. Even when it doesn’t seem that hot outside, and even with the windows cracked, temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes.
Aside from this primary car-related summer danger, pet owners should also know how to keep their pets safe when the vehicle is in motion on summer road trips and other joyrides.
If your pet is traveling with you in a truck, it’s safe to say that you should never let them ride loose in the truck bed. Instead, put them in a kennel that is secured to the vehicle.
Even inside the vehicle, it’s ideal to secure your pet to prevent them from hurting themselves or causing too much distraction while you are driving. Also, as fun as it is to see a dog taking in the sights and smells with his tongue flapping in the wind, it’s best not to let your pet stick his or her head out the window. This could cause irritation to the eyes, or even an injury from rocks or other objects that may kick up into your pet’s face while driving.
Just like people, pets can also get sunburned. Sunburns can cause pain, peeling skin and even skin cancer. It’s best to minimize your dog or cat’s exposure to the mid-day sun, when the sun’s rays are most powerful. If you plan on being outdoors in the sun for an extended period you can apply a pet-specific sunscreen to your dog or cat to minimize the exposure. Don’t use human sunscreens unless directed to do so by your veterinarian. Many human sunscreens can be toxic to pets if ingested.
Dogs and cats need exercise all year long, but when temperatures rise you may need to alter your pet’s routine. To avoid over-exertion, shorter, more frequent activities may be better than long runs or hikes. It’s also best to exercise your pet early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Watch our summer safety video, opens in a new tab for more tips on exercising in hot weather.
Not all pets like to be near water, and not all are great swimmers. If your summer plans include oceans, lakes, rivers, or pools, you should introduce your pet to water gradually so they get used to it slowly.
It’s also important that you never leave your pet unattended around a pool or body of water. Do your best not to let your pet drink from the pool, lake, pond, etc. While sources of seemingly endless summer fun, all of these can cause health issues including stomach upset or transmission of parasites such as giardia.
Need more info?
You can find additional information on summer safety by browsing the articles below: