Summer Pet Safety Tips: Four-Legged Fun in the Sun
Tips for keeping pets safe and happy in warm weather.
Summer is almost here, with Memorial Day weekend just around the corner. And after a long, snowy winter, both pets and owners are ready to celebrate the season. But even though animals are eager to play outside in warmer climates, the sunny weather can be dangerous for both cats and dogs.
Here are Zootoo's simple tips for enjoying the sunshine and warmth with your furry friends:
Pets need sunscreen, too! Just like humans, your cat or dog can get extremely sunburned, especially if your pet has light colored fur. Animal sunburns can cause the same problems as those of humans: peeling, redness and even cancer. Skin cancer in pets is much more prevalent than one would assume, so purchasing pet-friendly sunscreen can go a long way in protecting the health of your pet when the heat kicks in.
Places that are easy to forget, but prone to burning are: inside the nostrils, tip of nose, around your dog’s lips and the inside of ears for dogs with stand-up ears.
Pets need extra water... but don’t let them drink just anything. Just like humans, pets need a lot of water during the summer, but be careful not to leave that water out too long. The heat can breed bacteria, which can sicken your pet if you’ve left it out in the sun too long. Give your dog extra water during the spring and summer, but be careful to change the water often. If dogs are extra thirsty, pets are bound to drink something they shouldn't drink. Puddles of what looks like water may be on the ground, but these may include antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals, so keep an eye when the dog is panting and looking for something to sip on.
Never leave your pet in the car. Some pet owners may think this tip is a no-brainer, but it’s so important… we’ll keep repeating it! A car trip might seem like a good idea to cool off your pet, but it will probably do more harm than good if you leave your pet in the car for even a few minutes. The temperature in your car can rise over 100 degrees in a manner of minutes, so if you are bringing the dog in the car, make sure you can take him out on any errands you run when parking the vehicle.
Inside is better than outside. Even if your pet is in the shade, it can get sick quickly on hot days. As much as Fido wants to go outside, it is usually smarter to keep your pet inside as much as possible. If you have to leave the dog outside on a hot day, make sure to check on him/her regularly. NEVER leave the house on a hot day with the dog outside.
Watch for heatstroke. Dogs can develop heatstroke fairly quickly. Signs of this are excessive panting, staring, anxious expression on the face, warm skin, refusal to obey commands by owner, vomiting, collapse and rapid heartbeat. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from this, lower the animal's body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after just a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. Take the dog to the vet immediately — don’t try to solve this yourself.
Throw away uneaten food. Although you may leave wet cat food out or dog food during the day in winter months, summer months and warm weather lead to increased bacteria growth, so if your pet doesn’t eat it immediately, bring the food inside to the cool house, where it can be kept for longer.
SPECIAL TIPS FOR CATS
Watch out for hairballs. Despite the fact that spring is the main shedding season for cats, indoor cats also shed a lot in hot weather, so be wary of this during the summer months. It is much easier for your cat to ingest more hair and spit up hairballs frequently when it is hot outside. Frequently brushing your cat helps alleviate the chance of this, or even buying a “hairball prevention product” which will lower the chance of this happening and making your cat sick.
Keep the cat wet if it is an outdoor pet. If you have an outdoor cat, it is likely that it will remain outside most of the time during the spring and summer months. Frequently give it a bath or spray it with a squirt bottle to keep it from overheating, or pet your cat with a wet glove or towel to cool it down. This is especially important if your cat is elderly or obese.
Protect outdoor cats against fleas and ticks more than ever. Although fleas and ticks are problems throughout the year, they are especially bad during the summer months. Ensure you use a good quality flea control product on your outdoor cat and treat the environment that it stays in as well. Make sure that you check your outdoor cat for ticks often as they are dangerous and can result in death.
How do you keep your pets safe in warm weather? Do you have other tips? Share them below!
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