Summer seems to have arrived in many parts of the country. These warming days bring unique safety concerns for our pets. Here are a few tips for enjoying a safe summer with your furry friends:
Ensure your pets’ vaccinations are up-to-date and that heartworm, flea and tick medications have been administered. Summer brings out rabies-carrying creatures, such as skunks and raccoons, and fleas and ticks are abundant this time of year as well. Protect your pets! Consult your veterinarian for more information on heartworm, Lyme disease, rabies and other life-threatening diseases.
When planning your dog’s daily walk, seriously consider early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler and when sidewalks aren’t so hot. If you have to walk mid-day, take a shorter route, and remember that concrete and other paved pathways can burn the pads of a dog’s paws.
Don’t leave pets unattended in your vehicle. Cars quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, especially on warm or sunny days, even with the windows slightly open. Every year hundreds of pets die from being left in vehicles.
If you take your dog boating or swimming with you, consider a pet life vest. Contrary to what many people think, not all dogs swim or swim well. Dogs can and do drown. Even the best of swimmers, like Labrador retrievers, can lose their life in the water, especially a swollen, fast-moving river or stream so ensure your pet’s safety in and near the water.
If your dog spends time outdoors in a kennel, ensure he has plenty of fresh, cool water and shelter with shade. Rain and thunderstorms can pop up quickly, particularly in the afternoon when you may be elsewhere, such as at work. And, NEVER chain or tie your dog out – lightening striking a nearby tree, heat exhaustion, dehydration and numerous insect bites are just a few of hazards posed to tethered dogs.
For your cat’s protection, keep her indoors. Cats can be purr-fectly content indoor pets – they just need is a bit of playtime, a cat tree and other enrichment. Keeping your kitty indoors protects her from rabies from roaming creatures, death by car or dogs, and other safety issues, such as car coolant leaks.
Pesticides, weedkiller and other chemicals pose dangerous risks to pets and may even result in death. Ensure your pet cannot get into any of these hazardous products, and highly consider using organic products for your garden and yard.
If your pet travels with you, make sure his/her ID tags are on the collar of your pet before traveling – microchips are very helpful, too. And, make sure all information, such as your phone number, is up-to-date. Also, use a leash to walk your pet for its bathroom break at a rest stop. One of the worst ways to ruin your vacation is to lose your pet.
Prior to traveling, look into accommodations that accept pets. Here are a few websites that can help you plan your pet-friendly vacation: www.petswelcome.com and www.bringfido.com.
If you don’t take your pet on vacation with you, look into hiring a reliable pet sitter. Ask friends or your vet for recommendations or check out a website such as http://www.rover.com
NEVER leave your pets home alone if you’re gone for an extended period of time. Even asking friends to “drop by” to feed and water isn’t enough. Things can happen if a pet is left alone for days – running out of water, yard and house destruction, incessant barking which can result in upset neighbors – and possibly a fine to you by animal control.
Follow these guidelines and enjoy a safe and happy summer with your pet!