Summer Safety Tips From Longwood Veterinary Clinic in Kennett Square
Summer is finally in full swing; the sun is shining brightly, the temperatures are high, and there is plenty of opportunity to take your pet outside for much-needed playtime. The summer season is a great time to bond with your pet, however, higher temperatures, humidity, and changes in routine may pose some additional risks for your furry companion such as skin and ear infections, musculoskeletal injuries, and a higher possibility of heatstroke to name a few. In today’s post, we will discuss some of the best ways to ensure you and your pet enjoy summer to the fullest, having fun while staying safe.
Provide Your Pet With Plenty of Water and Shade
Dehydration is a very real risk dogs and cats face during the summer months. When it is hot outside, pets need more water than most people realize. Signs of dehydration include dry gums, excessive drooling, and excessive panting. To prevent your pet from becoming dehydrated, make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water both inside and outside the house. If you decide to go on a walk or to a park with your dog, make sure you bring along plenty of water and a bowl. Switching to a wet pet food during the summer, or adding water to dry kibble, will also increase your pet’s fluid intake. Finally, make sure your pet has access to shade. While dogs and cats enjoy sunbathing, they can quickly become overheated if they do not have a shady space to retreat.
Never Leave Your Pet in the Car
It is critical you do not leave your pet in a parked car when the temperature is high outside. Even temperatures as low as 75 degrees with moderate humidity pose a threat. You may think leaving your pet in your vehicle for a few minutes isn’t so bad. What’s the worst that could happen if you’re just running a quick errand? Heatstroke and death are actually the worst that can happen and often do. On a hot day, it can take less than 20 minutes for dogs or cats locked inside a vehicle to develop heatstroke. If the health and safety of your pet isn’t enough deterrent, leaving your pets in a vehicle is now illegal in 16 states.
Apply Some Sunscreen
Many people are not aware their pets can develop sunburns, especially those with a light coat, unpigmented skin, or short hair. As in humans, a sunburn is often uncomfortable and, even worse, can increase the chances of developing skin cancer. If you are planning to spend a day out in the sun with your pet, consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen every 3-4 hours on the areas of your pet that are least covered by hair. These spots include ears, the top of the nose, stomach, and the tops of feet.
Save Your Dog’s Paws
Walking your dog on a hot road during the summer could lead to injury. The surface temperature of asphalt in direct sunlight is often high enough to cause thermal injury (burns) to the surface of your dog’s pads. These burns may be severe enough to require treatment. We often assume our pets don’t need shoes, however, in the summer this assumption does not apply. Try your best to keep your pet on grass or other surfaces that are cool.
Beware of Parasites
While you should always be vigilant about making sure your pet is free of parasites, it becomes especially important in the summer months. During summer, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are practically everywhere. These pests carry heartworms, tapeworms, and diseases such as Bartonella or Lyme disease that can cause major health issues for your pets. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.
Consider Purchasing a Life Vest
Boating is an extremely popular summer activity. People often take their furry companions along to enjoy the water and outdoor adventure as well. While we highly encourage bringing your pet along with you during outings, we also want to make sure you take appropriate safety measures. Believe it or not, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Like humans, dogs may fatigue quickly while playing in the water. If you decide to take your pup out on the lake or ocean with you, we recommend you buy them a dog-friendly life vest. A life vest will help keep your dog afloat if they become too exhausted to swim. Dog life vests are highly visible and typically come with a handle on the back, so you can easily retrieve your dog from the water.
Protect Your Pets From Fireworks
Many people enjoy the bright displays of fireworks the summer holidays bring. However, it is important to take your pet into consideration. Many pets are frightened by the loud noises that accompany fireworks, causing them to run away or hide. We recommend that you keep your pet inside if you are going to shoot off fireworks, or there are fireworks displays near your home. If you feel your pet may need medication to reduce their anxiety around fireworks (and even thunderstorms) please contact your Longwood Veterinary Center veterinarian.
If you have any questions about the content presented here, or would like to schedule an appointment for your pet, please give us a call at 610.3888.3388 or reach out to us via our contact page.