Although wild animals are well adapted to the hot and cold elements, companion animals are more often use to air conditioning and can be susceptible to extreme summers temperatures just as their owners are.
When the temperatures get extreme, pet safety should be at the top of your list. Here are some ways to stay safe while enjoying your summer activities with your pet:
1. Respect the Heat. Humans aren’t the only animals that find a hot summer day overwhelming. Unlike us, your pet has a limited ability to deal with the heat. Dogs release heat through their paw-pads and by panting, while humans can sweat through all of their body.
Dehydration can be a big problem for pets during the summer months. According to the ASPCA, animals with flat faces—like Pugs and Persian cats—cannot pant as effectively and are therefore more susceptible to heat stroke.
And, keep an eye on elderly or overweight pets or pets with heart and lung disease. In the summer, make certain that your pets always have access to plenty of fresh, "Cool Water" not hot, and avoid letting them run around outside during the hottest parts of the day.
2. Keep Bugs Away—Safely. Another summer pet safety issue is the presence of ticks and other summer insects. Not only can bugs carry diseases, but the ways people try to ward them off can also cause problems for your outdoor pet’s health. Fertilizers and pesticides may help keep a lawn looking great, but they can be very dangerous for your pet. In the areas where your pets play, it’s better to keep the grass cut short to reduce the presence of ticks and other insects.
Also keep an eye out for fertilizer warnings on the edge of lawns when walking your dog. Talk to your vet about the best ways to protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and other insects that are more prevalent during the summer months.
3. Beware Of Anti-Freeze. In the summertime, anti-freeze can leak out of cars when they overheat, leaving puddles on the ground that your dog can easily lap up and swallow. The sweet taste of anti-freeze is tempting to dogs and cats, but when this toxic substance is ingested, it’s potentially lethal. Pay attention to your neighbors’ cars and potential puddles on your street, and make sure your pets stay clear of it.
4. Find Out If Your Pet Needs Sunscreen. Some pets, particularly those with short fine hair and pink skin, can also be susceptible to sunburn. Talk to your veterinarian about which types of sunscreen are safest on your pet’s skin, and follow up by routinely applying sunscreen as part of your summer routine.
"Do Not" use sunscreen or insect repellents that are not designed specifically for use on animals. The ASPCA says ingesting certain sunscreens can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy in pets.
5. Practice Water Safety. As with other aspects of summer pet care, water safety is all about thinking ahead. Although it's fun to bring your pet to the beach or pool to stay cool together, always keep a close eye on your pet when they’re in or near the water.
Even a strong swimmer could have trouble getting out of a pool, or get trapped by ropes and other obstacles. For more risky summer adventures with your dog, like boating, look into a doggie life preserver. It could be an excellent investment for his safety.
6. Hot Pavement = Blistered Paws. Most of us don't notice the hot pavement thanks to new heat-resistant shoe soles, but our pets are standing on their bare paws.
Ever notice your pet lifting one paw at a time and then another or moving around a lot or tugging on their lease? A dogs paws can blister within minutes when the pavement below them reaches 90 degrees or more. If you can feel the heat radiation from the pavement, it's time to move your pet onto the grass or into a cool shade.
While it's true that dogs sense the ground with their paws and prefer to be bare pawed, a small investment in a pair of pet booties will protect their paws from heat damage. If your working an event or show, invest in a pet cot which keeps your pet off the hot ground and allows cool air to flow under them.
Summer pet safety isn’t hard, it just requires some thought and attention. Watch over your pet the way you would a small child—protect them from too much heat, sun, and other summer dangers—and get our there and have fun with you pet this summer.