Warm weather impacts pets as well as people. Whether taking a walk, a drive or just hanging out in the backyard, there are extra precautions that people can take to keep their four-legged family members happy and safe.
Beat the Heat
- Never leave a pet unattended in the car on a warm or sunny day. Cars quickly heat up to a dangerous temperature, even with the window slightly open. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
- In the summer especially, watch for symptoms of overheating in pets. These include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse.
- When taking a dog for a walk on a hot day, plan for shorter walks midday, when temperatures peak, and longer walks in the morning and evening when it’s cooler. Hot sidewalks can burn the pads on a dog’s paws, so walk on the grass when possible.
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- Be sure to keep pets up-to-date on their vaccinations and preventative medications. Fleas and ticks stay busy in warm weather and summer is also the prime time for heartworms. Check with a veterinarian about the best way to keep pets healthy.
- Keep cats indoors to keep them safe. Cars, other pets and wild animals can all pose risks to cats’ safety. By providing playtime, cat trees and other enrichment, a cat will be happy and content to stay indoors.
- Beware of cocoa mulch and other gardening products. Cocoa mulch can be deadly if ingested and has an appetizing scent to some animals. Pesticides, fertilizers and other harsh chemicals can also be quickly fatal if ingested.
- When driving with pets, be sure to keep them properly restrained and inside the vehicle. Special seatbelts and secured carriers can protect pets during accidents and prevent them from distracting the driver. The back of a pick-up truck is never a safe place for a pet to ride.
- Taking Fido to a backyard barbeque or party? Remember that the food and drink offered to guests may be poisonous to pets.
- When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets’ reach as well.
Don’t Forget about the Little Guys
- Pet rabbits should be kept indoors because they don’t tolerate heat well. Keeping a rabbit indoors will also provide protection from predators who might try to attack a rabbit in an outdoor hutch.
- Be mindful of pets around our wild neightbors. When going for walks or playing in a fenced yard, don’t allow pets to harass birds, rabbits, squirrels or other wild animals.
Dog Days of Summer
- The summer months are the peak season for dog bites because so many kids and dogs are playing outside. Training, socialization and dog spaying or neutering a dog can reduces the risk of dog bites. Kids can learn to stay safe through good manners around pets and humane education.
- Never leave a dog outdoors unattended on a chain or tether. Long-term chaining during the hot summer months can result in countless insect bites, dehydration and heat stroke. Even sort-term unattended tethering can pose risks such as theft or attacks by people or animals.