Summertime and the living’s easy. But not necessarily for your pet. While there’s plenty of fun in the sun, there are also dangers. And it’s up to all pet owners to guard against warm weather hazards. Here are some tips from our Pet Help Line – 502-509-3748 – which is supported by Banfield Foundation and Dogs Trust USA:
Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car on a Warm Day
Every summer, we hear reports of pets left alone in cars who die from heat stroke. The temperature in a car can rise 30 degrees or more in under 30 minutes. Parking in shade isn’t going to keep the heat down noticeably, either. Your pet could succumb to heat stroke in less than 15 minutes. Never take a chance with a beloved pet. If it’s too hot for you to sit in the car, it’s too hot for your pet.
When it starts getting warm outside, take your dog or cat to the veterinarian for a full checkup. Make sure the checkup includes a heartworm test and a flea and tick protection plan. While these are year-round concerns, in the summer months, with more outdoor time, it’s especially important to monitor them.
Avoid Walking Your Dog in the Heat
Don’t walk your dog in the heat of the day. Evenings and mornings are best, but in the middle of the summer, even those times can be hot. When out, always watch your dog for signs of heat distress, including labored breathing, excessive panting or disorientation.
Blacktop pavement can heat up fast, causing burns on dogs’ sensitive paws. Test the heat by placing your hand directly on the pavement for seven seconds. If it’s too hot to hold your hand in place, it’s too hot for your dog. Instead, walk on lighter colored sidewalks and on the grass – or walk in the morning or evening.
Keep Your Home Cool for Your Pets
Some people turn off their air conditioning when they are away during the day. But a house can become an oven during the day when they are gone. If pets live in the home, remember their comfort and safety. Instead of turning off the air conditioner, consider setting it to a higher temperature, like 76 degrees. This, and a full dish of water, should keep your pet comfortable.
Watch Out for Your Indoor Cats
Between the added activity outside and the possibility of a door being left open, indoor cats may decide to wander. To keep them from escaping, make certain the indoor environment is kept stimulating and that you spend as much time with Kitty as you can. You can ensure your cat gets her exercise by playing with feather toys and laser pointers. Cats love to “kill” toys – so exercise your cat’s brain and body by playing “keep away” with her.
Pets can get dehydrated or get heatstroke quickly, so any pet outside needs to have plenty of water and access to shade. Please, even with those precautions, monitor your pet to ensure he or she is not in distress. If you care for community, unowned cats (often called “feral” cats), make sure they have fresh water twice a day, and be sure to throw out uneaten food so it doesn’t spoil.
Parties, Fireworks and Other Stressors
Summer is the time for large gatherings and fireworks. Unfortunately, the loud noises of holiday fireworks and the large crowds can be stressful to your pet. When possible, allow him a place to decompress. A room with a crate that guests know to avoid is ideal. During fireworks, keep your pet indoors. The sounds may cause your pet to bolt, or he may draw close to the fireworks themselves and be burned or otherwise injured.
Our pets count on us to keep them safe. Let’s make sure they stay so.