Summer is here! For us, that means flip flops, tanning, fireworks, and plenty of BBQ’s. Though these are nothing short of amazing for us humans, the same fun can get dangerous for our furry friends. Here are some ways you can enjoy your perfect summer while keeping your companions safe.

Water

  • Provide a sufficient amount of water for your pet at all times! This is one of the most important summer safety tips and one you should never forget.
  • Do not let your pet drink seawater; the salt and minerals found in ocean water can make them sick and dehydrated.
  • Consider your dog’s personal preference before taking them swimming. Some dogs can’t swim and others hate being in water.
  • If your dog goes swimming at the beach, make sure to rinse them off afterwards (the seawater can damage their coat) and check with a lifeguard for water conditions.
  • Never leave your dog unsupervised in water.

Sun Protection

  • We humans aren’t the only ones who need sunscreen! Talk to your vet about sunscreen for your pet, and when applying, remember that the ears and nose are in need of the most sun protection.
  • Limit your dog’s sun exposure by walking them in the early morning and evening, when temperatures are lower.
  • Pet fur acts as a sunscreen in itself so the shorter your pet’s hair, the more susceptible they are to sunburn. Please consider before grooming, and if you must shave your pet try to do it early in the summer giving the hair time to grow out.
  • If your pet has short hair, pink skin and/or white fur they will be especially vulnerable to sun damage so make sure you have ample defense against the sun’s rays.
  • Pavement and asphalt can get especially hot and burn your pet’s paws, which is why it’s best to walk your dog when it’s cooler out, or keep them on grass and sidewalk.
  • Place the back of your hand on the pavement; if you can’t hold it for five seconds, it’s too hot to walk your dog.

Home Safety

  • Don’t allow your pet onto a freshly fertilized or chemically treated lawn, and watch out for insecticides which can be poisonous.
  • Cars are more likely to leak antifreeze in the heat of the summer, which can be deadly to your pet. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, immediately contact your vet.
  • Be careful about any windows left open, especially those in higher stories. Make sure all open windows have screens!
  • If your pet spends most of its time outdoors, look out for flea and tick infestation and make sure there is adequate shade available for your pet to rest in.
  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets

Travel Safety

  • When traveling by car, make sure your pet’s crate is well ventilated and keep an ice pack or two in there to make sure your pet keeps cool.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car on a hot day! If the temperature outside is 75 degrees, the temperature inside your car can quickly climb past 120 degrees.
  • The American Kennel Club states that many airlines will not ship animals during the summer due to weather conditions, so keep this in mind and plan your trips accordingly.
  • If your pet is being shipped, pack ice packs in their crate along with fresh water.
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date before you travel, and familiarize yourself with vets and animal hospitals in the area.
  • Leave your pets at home as much as possible. While you may think that they will be lonely, they will be much more comfortable in your cool home than riding in a hot car.

Heatstroke

  • Symptoms of heatstroke include but are not limited to: labored breathing, excessive drooling, lethargy, bright red gums, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, and a temperature of 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you suspect your pet is having a heatstroke, immediately contact your vet and cool them down by doing the following: apply rubbing alcohol to your pet’s paws, hose them down, apply ice packs to the groin area, and offer them Pedialyte (to restore electrolytes) or ice chips.
Fireworks
  • Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, you might consider marking a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact information and leaving it on your horse during this stressful time.
  • If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses – just in case.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.