Summer Safety 101

Pet Health and Safety  •  Pam Karkow  •  Tuesday, May 19, 2020

We were hiking through lush vegetation in the gorgeous mountains of Blowing Rock, NC, when I wondered aloud if the pond at the bottom of the hill would be clean enough for my pooch to splash around in when we got there.  “Even if it is clean, I don’t have her ball or anything to throw to her,” I said.  My friend’s husband chimed in, telling me just to throw a stick to her.  A chorus of “no’s” answered him.  My friend and I both knew the dangers of allowing your dog to chew on a stick.

What other no-no’s exist when it comes to summertime fun?  I do not mean to be a downer when it comes to what is ok and what is not ok as the weather turns warm and we and our beloved furry ones begin spending more time outside. But in this case, as the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  So, without further ado, I present Summer Safety 101.

NEVER, EVER leave your pet in a hot car. 

The image of the sweet golden going limp from heat exhaustion before being rescued by a good Samaritan in the movie A Dog’s Purpose has been cemented in my mind.  Did you know it only takes 10 minutes for your car’s temperature to climb from 75 degrees to 94 degrees?   If you need an alternative to leaving your pet in the car, we have some ideas for you.  Hungry and have your pet in tow?  Go through the drive through or dine with your pet at an outdoor cafe in the shade.  Have errands to run?  Shop at pet-friendly stores (many hardware stores welcome pets), or take a friend along who can play with your pet outside while you run in.  Or simply leave your pet at home for a little R&R.  Your dog may enjoy the peace and quiet.

Set expectations at cookouts. 

It can be tough to monitor what your pet eats (or drinks!) when there are a lot of people around, so make sure to let everyone know your guidelines before the party gets in full swing.  You may want to keep your pet on a leash to make sure he doesn’t get into any raw meat or get too close to open flames.  Also, to avoid an upset tummy later, let your fellow party goers know not to feed your pet.  If you choose to use any sunscreen or insect repellent on your furry pal, make sure it is pet approved.  PetMD’s post, Can Dogs Wear Sunscreen has more tips on what kind and how to apply.

Prepare for a vacation.

It’s summertime and the living is easy, right?  So the saying goes.  When you are traveling with your pet, you will need to make sure you are prepared.  Travel means you will be taking your dog or cat out of his comfort zone.  Whether traveling by train, plane, or automobile, we have some universal tips for you to follow in our post, Tips for Traveling with your Pet.

Be ready for emergencies.

The unpredictable weather of summer can bring with it flooding, hurricanes, and major storms.  Do you have your Disaster Kit ready?  You will want to make sure you have bottled water, pet food, vet records, and required medication packed in a tub so you can grab it easily in the event of an evacuation.  You can read our post, National Disaster Preparedness Month for a complete list of items to pack, as well as other tips to follow to make sure you are prepared.  Petfinder’s blogs, Preparing for Hurricane Evacuation With your Cat and Must-Know Hurricane Evacuation Tips for Dog Parents--Are You Prepared? will have you all set when it comes to being ready for a hurricane. 

Protect your pet with a pet insurance policy so you can provide the best veterinary care when unexpected accidents and illnesses strike.

Watch out for these 6 summer dangers.

Coolant, herbicides, heartworms, mosquitoes, fertilizers, and insecticides are all harmful to your dog and can be more prevalent in the summertime.  If you have trouble keeping your dog from being attracted to the sweet taste of coolant, consider switching to an animal-friendly coolant.  When you treat your lawn with products, make sure to keep your dog away until it has dried, and be careful when fertilizing, as some products are lethal to dogs.  Make sure your dog is up to date on his heartworm medication.  Petfinder’s Infographic: 6 Common Summer Dangers warns that “Just one mosquito bite could infect your dog with deadly heartworm.” 

Follow our tips, and this summer the living will be a piece of cake!

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