Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe During Summer
For many of us, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. With events returning, restrictions being lifted and many of us feeling ready and eager to start getting back to some semblance of our pre-COVID-19 life, travel is rebounding this year and people are looking forward to all the fun in the sun that summer brings. But while the warm weather may feel especially great this year, it is important to remember that our furry friends feel temperatures differently than we do and remember to take special care to keep them safe in the summer heat.
By following the simple pet safety tips below, you will ensure that your pet keeps cool and safe in the summer months ahead:
- Never Leave a Pet in a Parked Vehicle
The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. That means, even on a 70-degree day, a pet that has been inside a vehicle for an hour is being exposed to 110ºF heat. Animals left in vehicles are at serious risks of discomfort, illness and even death.
Responsible animal lovers can do their part to help pets in danger: if you see a distressed dog inside a parked car on a warm day, immediately call your local animal control or law enforcement for help.
- Avoid Midday Outdoor Activities
You may want to adjust your pet’s activities to avoid midday sweltering temps during the summer. Instead, take your pet outdoors during the early morning or late evening, which tend to be a bit cooler, to avoid overheating.
Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws. If it is too hot for you to go barefoot, it is too hot for your pet.
- Be Aware of the Signs of Heat Stroke
Even if taking every precaution, know the signs of heat stroke, which can include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, lethargy, stumbling, and vomiting.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, you should seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible. You can provide some immediate treatment by moving the pet to a cool spot, submerging them in a tub of cool (but not icy) water and allowing them to take small drinks of cool water.
Even after your pet has cooled and is no longer showing signs of heat stroke, it is still important to seek veterinary care immediately. Pets’ organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and the brain, are all affected by extreme body temperature elevation. It is best to have a veterinarian examine your pet to assess potential health complications and ensure that other risks are not overlooked.
- Keep Your Pet Well-Groomed
A matted coat traps in heat, so keep up with your pet’s grooming schedule during the summer. Also resist the temptation to shave off your pet’s hair to keep him cool. Your pet’s coat will protect him from getting sunburned.
- Keep Your Dog Away from Fireworks
The summer holidays also mean lots of fireworks displays. However, all dog owners will already know that the noise, smell, flashes of light and unpredictability of fireworks leaves our pets anxious and scared.
Never bring a dog to a firework show, and make sure they are indoors during scheduled displays. Before any local fireworks show, set up an area in a quiet space away from windows so that your pet can’t hear or see the fireworks. Use a crate if that is where your dog feels safe, and make sure to provide your pup with familiar toys and treats.
- Make Sure Your Pet Has Proper ID
More pets go missing during the Independence Day holiday than during any other time of the year. If you can’t be home with your pet during fireworks displays, it’s especially important to make sure their ID is up-to-date, and know what to do if your microchipped pet goes missing.
The summer months are filled with fun times for you and your furry friends, but keep in mind their safety. With these precautions, you will ensure your pet keeps cool (and safe) all summer long!