5 Best Summer Safety Tips for Pets
5 Best Summer Safety Tips for Pets
Going into summertime is so exciting for us two-legged folk, but the changing of the seasons can be hazardous for our pets. There’s no need to fret, just be aware of summer risks to your pets and you’ll be golden. Most people love to get outside into nature and soak up the warm weather, but your pet might not love it as much as you do, so follow these tips to make sure everyone’s tails are wagging come fall.
Pets in Hot and Sunny Weather
If you’re feeling the heat, imagine being inside a shell or covered in fur. If it’s a little too warm for you, you can almost guarantee your pets are feeling it too. Always test the heat of the road with your hand before taking your dog for a walk. Their foot pads might be tougher than ours, but they can burn badly if the ground has been baking in the sun all day. They are also trained to follow you and often can’t communicate their discomfort until the damage is done.
Humidity affects animals differently to humans. Dogs can experience heat stroke and heat exhaustion in humid conditions as it stops them being able to regulate their temperature by panting effectively. Heat stroke in dogs can present itself as weakness, vomiting, increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and diarrhea. Be mindful of the symptoms and take preventative measures.
Reduce your dog’s risk of heat stroke by limiting their time outside on hotter days. You could also consider a cooling coat. Perhaps let them out earlier in the day and later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. Give them access to plenty of shade and fresh water both indoors and out. Don’t leave your dog in a car on a hot day. If you do have to drop in somewhere, crack the window and don’t take more than 15 minutes. Even in 20-degree heat the car’s temperature will climb to 30 within half an hour.
Your cat will likely be a little more resourceful than a dog in finding a cool spot to rest, but you should still make sure they’re not stuck outside on a hot day and have access to shade and water.
We can get through summer in this part of the world by putting up with a few itchy bites and a bottle of bug spray. However, mosquito-related diseases are on the rise in North America. Insects, such as mosquitos, are particularly dangerous to dogs and cats. They can contract heartworm if bitten by an infected insect. Mosquitos can also carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Heartworm is a disease that can be fatal to cats and dogs. It’s a nasty condition which results in severe lung disease, heart failure, and organ damage. Take precautions such as medications and shampoos which protect animals against insects. If you plan to use medication, check with your veterinarian to get the dosage right.
You can get a monthly treatment to prevent fleas, flies, and mosquitos from attacking your pets. K9 Advantix II is a common mosquito repellent for dogs (don’t use for cats). It kills mosquitos that might try to bite your dog and keeps them at a distance with its full-spectrum protection.
Cats lick themselves so much and are more sensitive to chemicals, so products for them are a little less common, but you can get them over the counter.
Do not use bug-repellent products or medications intended for humans on your pets.
Pesticides and Fertilizers
While these chemicals can keep your garden growing strong, they won’t do the same for your pets. Pesticides and fertilizers can make your animals sick or even be fatally toxic to them. Keep your pets out of the garden for a week if you need to use weed killer, or better yet just avoid the risk entirely and do the weeding by hand. Your dog or cat’s change in body language should tell you if they have ingested something toxic to them, particularly if they seem reserved, vomit, or have diarrhea.
If you do let your pets out into the garden, check that you know what’s planted there and if anything poses a threat to your animals. Azaleas, rhododendrons, and tulips will upset their stomach, while sago palm, foxglove, and lilies may be acutely poisonous.
Veterinary hospitals, particularly in Vancouver and across Canada, see many pet admissions due to cannabis plants. If your dog ingests cannabis, it will become lethargic, sleepy, and hypersensitive to touch, sounds, and other stimuli. While it’s relaxing for many humans who choose and are prepared for the experience, animals can’t really comprehend what’s happening to them and it can be truly distressing. No dope for the dog, no chronic for the cat.
Summer Allergies and Pet Safety
Despite their fur famously making us humans sneeze, your pets can experience allergies too. Certain moulds and pollens will affect your pets. Living in a dusty environment can trigger allergies too, so don’t leave your cleaning for spring. Allergies will usually present as itchy skin on your dog, so check their undercoat a few times over the summer months to ensure their body isn’t irritated. Many Vancouver vets will prescribe streroids, antihistamines, or allergy shots to treat symptoms of allergies in dogs and cats.
There you have it: summer safety tips to keep your pets happy until the fall. Let us know how you keep your pets cool and safe over the summer!