With the official start of summer just around the corner, you may find yourself spending more time outdoors and on family vacations. Many of these activities can be enjoyed with your pets in tow, but there are precautions that should be taken. Here are some tips on how you can safely participate in summer activities with your pets.
Never leave a pet in a car on a hot day. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. According to veterinarians, a pet can only withstand a higher body temperature for a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or even death. Cracking windows on a hot day isn’t enough to keep your pet cool.
Be safe at the beach. Not only can dogs get overheated in hot cars but also on steamy summer days. Make sure your pet stays cool outside by always providing shade and cool water. The ASPCA said you should be especially careful with dogs that have short, pushed-in faces (e.g., bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers), puppies, and elderly pets. Experts warn that you should be cautious of pets with light-colored noses, ears, or fur as they are especially vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing a sunscreen.
Adjust your pet’s exercise routine. On very hot days, exercise should be limited to early morning or evening hours. Also, be aware that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.
Watch for heat stroke. According to the American Red Cross, an overheated dog can suffer brain and organ damage after only 15 minutes. Some signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, bright-red tongue and gums, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and body temperature of 105-110 degrees. If your pet gets overheated, you can give immediate first aid by getting him out of the heat, laying him on cool shaded grass, and pouring cool water over him. You can also give small amounts of water or ice cubes. Call your veterinarian immediately.
Never leave pets unsupervised around a pool. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers. Make sure to introduce your pet to the water gradually. Keep in mind that supervision is required, even for dogs who know how to swim, as they may jump in a pool and not know how to get out. This is especially true if you have a covered pool. Also, try not to let your dog drink pool water. Chlorine and other chemicals in swimming pools can cause an upset stomach.
Practice safety on boats. Experts recommend that all pets wear flotation devices on boats. Additionally, dogs should be rinsed off after swimming in the ocean.
Be cautious of chemicals in your backyard. People tend to fertilize their lawns during the summer months and certain fertilizers can be fatal if ingested by your pet. In addition, plant food and insecticides can be dangerous if your pet consumes them. Citronella candles may keep away pests, but they contain a chemical that could be harmful if swallowed.
Don’t allow your pet to partake in parties. Just because you’re enjoying a backyard barbecue or party doesn’t mean your pet should suffer. Human food and drink aren’t always fit for pets to consume. Alcoholic beverages can cause depression, comas, or even death. Certain foods such as avocados, chocolate, garlic, and onions can also be poisonous.
Make sure your windows are secured. The ASPCA states that there is an increase in injured animals as a result of “high-rise syndrome,” which occurs when pets fall out of windows and are seriously injured. Since people tend to open windows more in warm weather, make sure to check all your window screens to ensure they are properly secured.
Riding in Cars
Secure your pet while traveling by car. Pets should always be placed in a carrier while traveling in a vehicle. If this isn’t possible, harnesses can be purchased to ensure your pet stays safe while you drive.
Don’t allow your dog to ride in the bed of a pickup truck. If you travel with your dog in the open bed of a pickup truck, not only are you putting your dog at risk but you’re endangering the lives of other motorists. The State of California prohibits unsecured animals from traveling in an open truck. If you must travel with your dog in your pickup truck, you can secure him in a crate in the truck bed or secure him to a crosstie in the open truck bed so that the dog can’t reach the sides of the truck. It is my belief that if a dog doesn’t fit inside your car, he should stay at home.
Traveling with Your Pet
If you decide to bring your pet with you on your travels, you will need all necessary supplies — food, treats, toys, bed, cold water, and bowls for the road. Make sure to check out hotels ahead of time to see if they allow pets. Here’s a great website to look for listings: petswelcome.com.
Make sure your pet is healthy. If your pet hasn’t had a health check recently, you may want to make an appointment with your veterinarian before you begin your journey. While you’re there, update your pet on any vaccinations that are needed.
Don’t schedule air flights during peak hours. Peak periods typically mean delays and stopovers, which means your pet will be in a crate for a longer period of time. You should also try to choose early morning or evening flights when the sun isn’t as hot.
If you follow these tips, you can enjoy the summer months with family and friends along with your pet by your side!
Adoptable Pet of the Week
Jewels is a beautiful 2-year-old spayed female blue pit bull terrier. She is a sweet, gentle, cheerful girl who loves to give kisses, snuggle next to you, and smile. Her smile gets bigger when she is scratched behind the ears and especially when her belly is rubbed. She would be happiest in an adult family and as the only four-legged friend in the house. Come meet Jewels at DAWG! She’s a real gem!