As the weather warms up, it’s important to remember that pets need a helping hand to beat the heat and have a happy and healthy summer.
“Most people associate summer with good times and good weather, but for pets, summer time can present dangers that are no laughing matter,” says Dr. Katherine Miller, director of applied science and research for the ASPCA. “Summer activities, like barbecues, traveling and hiking carry risks, but there are simple ways to protect your pet and have a fun summer.”
Here are a few ways animal lovers can help ensure their pets have a safe summer:
Visit the vet. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. Pets should also be given a blood test for heartworms every year in the early spring. The deadly parasite is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and it is recommended that dogs and cats be on monthly preventive medication year-round.
Keep cool. Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of water when it is hot outdoors. Also make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun, and when the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your dog's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
Pest-free pets. Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), insecticides, and some lawn products can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Some flea products that can be used safely on dogs can be deadly to cats, because of the presence of the chemical permethrin. Be sure to read directions on all flea and tick products carefully and follow the label instructions exactly.
Party smart. Summertime can be perfect for backyard barbecues or parties, but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, and remember that the snacks you serve your friends should not be treats for your pet.
Fireworks are not friendly. Leave pets at home when you head out for fireworks, and don’t ignite fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets and unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals.
Splash safely. Do not leave dogs unsupervised around a pool, as not all dogs are good swimmers. Rinse your dog after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
- Beware of “high-rise syndrome.” During warmer months, many animal hospitals and veterinarians see an increase in injured animals as a result of “High-Rise Syndrome,” which occurs when pets fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured.
If your dog or cat accidentally ingests a potentially toxic substance, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for immediate assistance.