Summer Survival Tips for Pet Owners

We’re in the middle of yet another sweltering summer. Some areas of the country have already seen record-high temperatures. Others have broken records for most days above 90 degrees.

There is cool air at the end of the tunnel. But it’s going to take a month or two to get there. Depending on what part of the country you live in.

We’re all aware of how to keep ourselves cooler. Such as wearing short-sleeve shirts and short pants. Plus not staying out in the heat too long. And staying hydrated. 

But are we also thinking about how our dogs, cats and other pets are dealing with the heat? They can suffer from heat stroke and dehydration too. Especially short-face dogs such as pugs and bulldogs, and senior pets. So let’s be careful with them.

14 ways to keep your pets safe

Below are 14 tips that will allow your pets to enjoy the summer while still being protected from the elements.

  •           Hydration is the single most important thing for a pet during the summer. Make sure they always have access to fresh, cool drinking water.
  •           Keep your pets leashed or in a fenced yard during the summer. If they get loose, they could suffer from dehydration before they return.
  •           Leave your pets in your air-conditioned home when you go out. The temperature inside a parked car can rise to nearly double the outdoor temperature. A pet inside a hot car can become ill quickly.
  •           If you do need to take your pet with you when you drive somewhere, take water bottles with you, as well as a collapsible bowl. But again, don’t leave them in a parked car for more than a few minutes.
  •           When you walk your dogs in the summer, aim for cooler parts of the day or night. And keep walks shorter than normal. They’ll probably want to stay out longer, but you know what’s best for them. Avoid walking them on blacktopped surfaces and asphalt.
  •           Heartworm and flea and tick medications are important year-round, but especially in the summer. Make sure your pets are up to date with those preventative treatments.
  •           If you need to cut your pets’ hair short periodically due to mats, this is a good time of year to do it. Don’t wait until the weather gets cold and they need that extra fur. But keep in mind they could become sunburn victims. Try to leave at least an inch or so. Pet-safe sunscreen is available online.
  •           Consider placing a small kiddie pool in your backyard and filling it with cold water. Some dogs love to jump and play in water on hot days, especially from mid to late afternoon. Drain it and refill it every few days. 
  •           Summer is also a good time to bathe your pets. Most of them will enjoy cool water on hot days. Try to find a shady area for bathing.
  •           Keep your dogs off your lawn for at least two hours after any lawn treatments involving insecticides and fertilizers.
  •           Mosquitos are at their worst just prior to sunrise and after sunset. Limit your dog’s outdoor activities during those times. 
  •           Watch for signs of heat exhaustion in your pets. This could include heavy breathing or lethargy. Or unresponsiveness, wobbly legs, drooling or vomiting. If you suspect heat exhaustion, get them to a cool place and encourage them to drink water. Cover them with a wet towel. Call your vet if you continue to be concerned about them. 
  •           Have an emergency plan in place that includes your pets’ wellbeing. If your power goes out and you need to evacuate, know ahead of time which area hotels accept pets.
  •           Have your pets micro-chipped and place an ID tag on their collar. Of course, this tip is important year-round.

In addition to your pets, birds and other animals need food and water during the hot summer months. Especially water.

You can help by placing a bird feeder on a tree branch, as well as water in a bowl. Change that water daily, as it will warm up and may even be used as a bird bath. 

And, of course, keep yourself as healthy as possible. That way you can keep up with your pets on their walks and while you’re playing with them, inside and out.

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