14 Tips for Summertime – Pet Safety
By Christina Burns
“It’s summertime and the living easy”, as the Sam Cooke song goes. With summertime in full swing, and for many of us that mean barbecues, cookouts, beach bonfires, hiking, and lots of road trips! There are plenty of things to remember to keep your dogs and cats safe during these fun times. The tips below will help everyone if your family stays healthy and comfortable during the summertime months:
- Lots of water: dehydration in dogs and cats is a huge possibility in the summer. Signs of dehydration include: dry gums, loss of skin elasticity, excessive drooping – don’t let it come to this, and always ensure that your pets have access to clean water, and plenty of it. During the hotter times of the day it’s important that pets stay hydrated and during heat waves pop a few ice cubes into their bowls to help keep their temperatures down, and on trips always bring water for your pets.
- Food: dehydration can often mask itself as hunger in our pets. As stated above its important to keep your pet hydrated with water – but you can also do this with food too! Frozen chicken broth, beef broth encourage your pet to take in more fluid and keep him/her cool. You can also feed your dog wet food, boiled chicken in addition to their Canine Caviar http://www.caninecaviar.com/
- Apply sunscreen: that’s right, you should apply sunscreen! Pets with light skin and short/thin coats are prone to sunburn or even skin cancer! When selecting a sunscreen please ensure that it’s all natural, fragrance free, non-staining, and contains UVA and UVB protections. Consult your veterinarians for sunscreen use on pets – especially cats (if they are outdoor cats) because of their grooming.
- Provide shade: when your pets go outside to play ensure that they have shade to rest in and that they are provided playtime breaks. Tree shade and tarps are ideal for shade because they let air flow freely. Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours.
- Campfires and Barbecues: your pets might try to remove pieces of food, or sticks away from the fire or barbecue – keep them away from these areas and ensure that when the fire is going they are secured far away on a short leash!
- Fireworks: during the 4th of July keep your pets indoor. Fireworks displays are no place for pets. The loud noises can often times burst ear drums and cause serious damage. Do your pets a favor, and keep them at home, inside their crate (if a dog) with a blanket draped over it if possible, the T.V. on with classical music and give your dog a calming supplement such as https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/calm this works wonders on dogs – not cat safe as it acts as catnip for them – no calmness there!
- Keep pets indoors: this is always a good practice! Pets are safer indoors, and cooler during the summer months. When away from your home, leave the air conditioner on 78 degrees and close all windows and blinds to avoid thermal gain. If you have a smart thermostat you can even control your home temperature when you aren’t there. This will allow you to adjust the air conditioner if the day begins to heat up.
- Don’t leave in cars, EVER: I cannot stress this tip enough! It doesn’t matter if it’s the end of the day and you feel its cooler out and your pet will be okay if you leave him/her inside for just a minute – they will not be! On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to deadly levels. In fact, on a sunny 70 degree day, your car can heat up to over 100 degrees within minutes! Either take your pet with you or leave him/her at home during errands, road trips, etc. If you happen to see a pet in a car, you can are empowered to take action! Please check your local City and State laws regarding rescuing pets from hot cars.
- Watch for grassy areas: often times these areas are treated with pesticides and fertilizers that can be deadly to pets. To keep them avoid unknown grassy areas, and take them to a dog/pet park.
- Watch out for leaking cars: antifreeze is something to stay away from all the time; however, cars tend to overheat and leak antifreeze more often in the summer months. Please keep all pets away.
- Practice flea prevention: fleas and tips run rampant during the summer months. It’s important to provide your furry family year round but more so in the summertime. I love using all natural flea control for my pets like Bragg apple cider vinegar (https://www.bragg.com/), and all natural sprays from Noble Pet Company (for dogs only) (http://noblepetcompany.com/).
- Cooling pad: these cooling pads are awesome for pets during hot days when the kitchen tile just doesn’t cut it, pop a cooling pad in the refrigerator, or freezer (review instructions) and place on the ground for added cooling. You can find a great selection on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=cooling+pad+for+pets&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=14307261909&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_22cew46ldd_e
- Walks: the asphalt can heat up quickly during warm days and cause our little pets paws to burn. Avoid walks during the hottest times of the day and walk in the early morning or late evening time. To test the surface place your hand onto the surface for 30 seconds – if it’s painful for you it will be painful for your pets too!!
- Keep up the grooming: make sure that your pet is on a regular rotation at the groomer. Often time’s owners elect to have their pets fur/hair trimmed to keep their body temperature down – but this depends on the pets. Their coat can provide insulation and actually be keeping them cool! I would recommend checking with your pet’s veterinarian to see what your pet’s specific needs are.
We love our pets and want to take them with us to share in our most special memories but it’s important to know what activities are safe for our pets, which are not, and how to protect them when we do take them out! I hope that these tips are helpful for you as you enjoy the summertime months with your furry companions!
Christina lives in sunny Orange County, CA as a full-time working pet mommy. Her love of animals goes back to her childhood where she used to rescue animals big and small and bring them home to her family. Always an avid pet owner, cats specifically, she adopted her first dog in 2012 where her zest for learning and finding healthy options for her pets has become a passion of hers. She is excited to begin sharing her knowledge with a larger audience.
Her pet mommy mantra: Remember pet parenthood is a privilege and an honor; try to find new ways to share new experiences with your furry family- life is short!