Summer Pet Care Tips
Summer is upon us, and before you know it, we will be loading up the dogs and heading for the lake. But it’s important to remember that our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be out enjoying all that summer has to offer.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking your dog out, keep in mind that hot weather can be dangerous for them. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when its hot outside, and we all know that animals don’t sweat like people do. To avoid possibly causing harm or even death to your pet, please read these summer pet care tips and enjoy summer and your pet.
Provide plenty of water & shade
This is a no brainer. What do all animals, no matter shape or size, cold and warm blooded need? Water! It is crucial that your pet stays properly hydrated. It is also crucial that you recognize the signs of a dehydrated dog. Symptoms include: Loss of appetite, Reduced energy levels and/or lethargy, Panting, Sunken, dry-looking eyes, Dry nose and gums, Loss of skin elasticity. If you think your pet may be suffering from dehydration, please do not hesitate to contact a vet. This is a life and death situation.
Never Leave your pet in the car
Ok, another no brainer, right? You would think so, but every summer its inevitable that you start hearing news stories about people leaving their pets in their cars, either intentionally or by accident, and the dog dying. Leaving your pets in cars is not only dangerous to your pet, but it is also illegal in 16 states that have specific laws.
Keep your dog's paws cool
This is one of those things that most people don’t realize. Did you know when the temperature is just 77 degrees outside, asphalt in the sun can reach 125 degrees, move up to 87 degrees outside, and asphalt can reach 143… an egg can fry in 5 minutes at 131 degrees! Think about that the next time you take your dog for a walk on a hot day. Maybe wait until later in the day or earlier in the day and try to stay off asphalt.
Keep Your Pet protected from parasites like fleas, ticks & mosquitoes
Summertime brings with it summer bugs. One of the worst things about summer is ticks and mosquitos, I hate them sooo much! Make sure you pet is up to date on all vaccinations and any preventive care like flea and tick prevention.
Check if your pet needs sunscreen
Some pets with short or fine hair can be susceptible to sunburn. Talk to your vet about which types of sunscreen are safest for your pet. Do not use sunscreen that is not designed specifically for use on animals.
Make sure your pet can swim
This is another one many people wouldn’t think of. I was one of them, I assumed that all dogs could swim well. I was wrong. Not all breeds are created equal. Make sure that if your dog is swimming, that they either have a life vest on them, or you keep a very close eye on them. In fact, you should keep a close on eye on any dog that is swimming. They can tire or run into trouble just like a person can.
Don’t shave your dog
You might think that if your pet has less hair then they will be cooler. It applies to humans, so why not our pets? A dog's coat is naturally designed to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter. Our dogs’ fur is not only an infinite source of hair on our dinner plates, but they also serve as a first line defense. Feel free to trim the fur on your dog in the summer, but never completely shave. Be sure to leave at least a full inch of hair to protect your dogs skin from sunburns.
If your pet happens to have a disease or hereditary trait which causes loss of hair they can still enjoy the outdoors, just make sure that they are protected by putting some dog clothes on them. Squishy Faces has some unique summer themed dog clothes that would make great wearables for the beach.
Keep your pets away from fireworks
Kablamo! Waploom!! ….and the home of the brave!! 4th of July is time for every American to celebrate the amazing freedom that this country provides, by blowing up a small bit of it. Fireworks are awesome in responsible hands, and that responsibility also stretches to your pets. Fireworks can be dangerous to your pets in more than one way. First, what do you think those fireworks are made of? Traditionally 75 percent potassium nitrate (also called saltpeter) mixed with 15 percent charcoal and 10 percent sulfur. These are all toxic to your pet. So, please make sure they don’t have access to the spleen splitters or whisker biscuits. Second, fireworks can freak out your pooch or kitty. Make sure that when it comes time to unleash armageddon, that your pets are in a secure location where they feel safe but also can’t escape when the booms start.
Watch out for toxic plants/poisonous animals
With warmer weather comes more outside time. I know that our cats cannot stand to be stuck inside when the weather is nice. They sit at the back door and meow until we are pulling out our hair, so we relent and let them out. We are now comfortable with them going out every day with minimal supervision. But that is because we have done our homework and made sure to only plant pet friendly plants and herbs. We also make sure to frequently check for wasps or hornets’ nests. There are many types of plants that are toxic to your animal. If you are not sure if something is toxic please check out the ASPCA list of poisonous plants.
This is just a partial list of some more common and not so common summer pet care tips. If you have any questions or concerns about what is best for your pet, please consult your local vet. Stay safe and enjoy the summer with your fur babies!