Summer Care Tips for Your Pet

The winter blues have come and gone, and summer’s carefree days will be soon upon us!  It’s time to start spending time with your furry friends around town, on vacation, or just in your own backyard.  Here are some ways to keep your pets healthy and safe during the season marked by pests and high temperatures.

The Basics – Make sure your pet has an up-to-date ID tag on its collar with your contact information and all vaccines are up-to-date.

Water Safety – Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so be sure to channel your inner Baywatch and supervise your pets when near the pool, beach or lake.  When at the ocean, make sure your pets don’t drink the salt water – this will upset their stomachs. And watch out for the undertow!

Cool Beans – Schedule walks or activity in the early morning or evening. Dogs can burn their paws on hot pavement or suffer from heat stroke. Some dogs will exercise or play to the point of collapse, so make exercise sessions safe by stopping for water breaks and resting in shady spots.

Heat Stroke – Early symptoms include excessive panting and drooling, bright red gums, weakness and balance problems.  As the condition worsens, pets can experience labored breathing, lethargy, seizures or death.  If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, spray down your dog with lukewarm water and seek veterinary help immediately.

Lazy Sunday Drives – If you are taking a road trip with your pets, never leave them inside with the windows up or down.  It is never safe to leave a dog or cat in a car, even on ‘cool’ sunny days.  Cars heat up to fatally high temperatures in minutes, which can result in the death of your beloved pet.  

Buckle Up – Pets should be seat belted in with specialized harnesses and heads should stay inside the car while driving.  Heads outside the window can risk inner ear damage, lung infections and eye injuries.  Not to mention, your pet could fall out of the window if it is open too much.

Picnics, Parties and Pets – Be careful of what your dogs and cats can get into at parties/bbq’s/picnics etc.  Chocolate, raisins, and onions can be toxic for dogs and cats.  Chicken bones can cause punctures in the intestines and fatty foods can hospitalize your pet with pancreatitis. Additionally, if your pet gets stressed or fearful around fireworks or big crowds, ask your vet about medications to ease your pet’s anxiety.

Parasite Prevention – Use monthly flea, tick and heartworm prevention all year round.  Remember, it is cheaper to prevent parasites than it is to treat your pets for parasites.

Toxic Substances – Poison that kills common pests like rodents, snails and slugs are lethal to pets too if they ingest it.  Lawn herbicides can also poison pets.  Keep your pets away from places where these poisons are stored or used and keep your pet out of the yard when spraying herbicides.  If you think your pet may have gotten herbicides on its feet, be sure to wash their paws with soap and water to remove residue.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have FUN with your pets, while keeping their safety in mind this summer!

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