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  • Writer's pictureSARL

Hot Weather Tips for Pet Summer Safety

A sunset with the silhouette of two people on a bike and a dog running in front of them.

With the warmer weather upon us, it’s the season for everyone to spend time outdoors, hit the pool or beach, and have gatherings with family and friends.  While many people include their pets in their summer activities, it’s important to remember the simple things you can do to keep them safe and healthy! Here's some tips to help you with your dog or cat this summer:

Fireworks or Thunderstorms:

  • Call your veterinarian to discuss if your pet is a candidate for anxiety relieving medications or sedatives. Reaching out in advance allows time for you to have an appointment made if your pet is not up to date on their annual exam; it also gives you time to do trial runs prior to the anticipated stressful event with medications to see how your dog/cat reacts to them in a safe environment while you are able to monitor them.

  • Keep your pet inside when fireworks or thunderstorms are anticipated. This may mean leaving your pet at home and/or providing a safe and secure environment for them such as a dark, small room or a crate if your pet is crate trained. 

  • Add a sound machine or play soft, gentle music to help mask the noises of fireworks or thunder.

  • Some pets greatly benefit from something known as a “Thunder Shirt”. This is a tight-fitting body suit that equates to what swaddling an infant would do: it provides a sense of safety and comfort. 

  • Plan ahead! With July 4th fireworks and celebrations around the corner, many dogs/cats will be anxious during the big night. Don’t wait until the day or week before to find what works best for you and your pet. Every animal is individual in what their needs are and what may work for some, won’t work for all. Practicing and having an idea of what your pet responds to best will reduce YOUR anxiety as well! 

Warm Weather Safety

  • Do not leave your pet in the car without the air conditioning running. Temperatures inside a car can rise quicker than you may think and harm your dog/cat.

  • Avoid taking your pet outside during the hottest part of the day. Try to plan pet-friendly activities in the morning or evening, after the sun has started to set.

  • Before going for walks, touch your hand to the pavement and leave it there for a moment; if it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your pet’s paw pads.

  • Consider a summer haircut, especially for dog and cat breeds that have thicker or longer hair coats. 

  • Always provide free access to water. Don't forget to bring water with you wherever you go with your dog/cat so you don't have to worry about finding any.

  • If you plan to take your pet out on a boat or to a body of water, know your pet’s ability to swim and provide a life jacket for them as well. Dogs are often overestimated as "good swimmers", but the reality is that many dogs might not be great at swimming - best to prepare just in case!

  • In addition to keeping your pet on year-round heartworm, flea, and tick prevention, perform routine “tick” checks before going back inside; run your hands gently over your pets’ fur and brush it backwards to help you look/feel for tiny, unwanted hitchhikers. Using a tick spoon is preferred to remove one, however, you may also use tweezers; grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull it off. Avoid squeezing its body as this can cause it to push its saliva into your pet and increase potential transmission of disease. 

Travel Tips

  • Make sure the information on your pet’s ID tag on their collar is up to date.

  • Microchip your pet. If they’re already microchipped, update the information linked to it. An issue seen in shelters and veterinary hospitals is that the chip has never been registered to an owner or has outdated information (phone number, owner name, address, etc) which can be a problem when trying to reunite pets with their families.

  • If you are traveling between states, become familiar with each state’s law regarding transportation of your pet. Many will require some form of certificate signed by your veterinarian. 

  • Have a copy of your pet’s vaccination record available, including their updated Rabies certificate, as well as enough medication (if they are on daily medication), and food to last through the trip. 

  • Practice getting your pet comfortable with the car: take short trips to fun locations that make your pet excited about the travel. Practice using doggy seatbelt, crates, or cat carriers. This may mean slowly introducing the item to them; have your dog practice wearing the seatbelt harness. Start leaving the crate/carrier out a few weeks in advance with a comfy blanket and feed your pet in it with the door open. The goal is to provide a calm environment where your pet feels safe and comfortable! 

Food/Plant Safety

  • Summer calls for beautiful plants and flowers! Familiarize yourself with toxic and non-toxic plants before bringing any indoors or planting them in your yard. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of plants you'll want to avoid for your dog/cat.

  • If you are hosting a BBQ or going to one with your pet, keep your pet away from items like skewers, bones, and corn cobs. These taste/smell delicious to your pet and can cause damage if ingested. It's especially important for snack-stealing dog owners to be careful around these items.

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