Summertime means lots of outdoor fun with our families and pets- long walks, playing outside with water, longer days. But it can also be a dangerous time of the year for our pets if we don’t take extra precautions.
Home Health Living has created a list of 10 simple ways to make sure your pets stay happy, health and safe during the hotter months.
10 Ways To Keep Your Pets Healthy And Safe This Summer
Water, Water and More Water!
Keep them hydrated with lots of fresh, cold filtered water and leave out several drinking bowls. Keep your pet’s drinking bowl in a shady spot, and regularly change the water. Add some ice cubes to the water to keep it cooler, and keep their food bowl out of the sun. If your pet doesn’t eat its food straight away, cover up the bowl and take it away so that the food doesn’t spoil. Wait a little while and then bring the food bowl out again to see if they will eat.
Your pet’s skin can get sunburned. Be careful of dry snouts and paws from dehydration. Dogs can get sunburnt, but usually their summertime fur coats help protect them from the harshness of the sun. Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun, particularly for dogs with health issues. You can buy boots for pets to prevent their paws from getting burnt (but most cats and dogs don’t like them!).
Fleas and other bugs
Check your dog for ticks in the summertime, especially after going for a walk in a woody area. Ticks spread Lyme Disease- this is something to be wary of. If you have found a tick on your dog and have removed it, it’s a good idea to take your pet to a vet to get some advice on whether anything more should be done. Get your pets treated for fleas and other bugs on a regular basis.
Birds and other caged pets
If you have pet birds, guinea pigs or rabbits, make sure you move their cages out of the sun and keep checking on them throughout the day. Make sure the cage is in a cool, shady area. If you can, bring the cage inside the house until it is cooler outside. If this isn’t possible, then drape the cage with a wet sheet or towel and leave an ice block inside to help the animal keep itself cool.
We all know how uncomfortable and even painful it can be walking barefoot on hot surfaces, so why wouldn’t our pets feel the same? Before taking your dog for a walk, check whether the path is too hot and if so, don’t take your dog for a walk. Reschedule your walks for a cooler part of the day, such as first thing in the morning or in the evening. Walk your dog in shady areas where the surface temperature is a lot cooler.
If your dog has particularly thick hair, then take it to a groomer to have it trimmed to keep your dog cooler. Remember though, that a dog’s coat protects its skin from the harshness of the sun, so make sure your groomer doesn’t cut the hair too short. Regularly brush your cat or dog’s hair in the summer to remove any loose hair or fur that would otherwise overheat them.
Never leave your dog in a parked car, even if you are only going to run a quick errand, and even if your car is parked in a shady spot. The temperature in your car can rise quickly and have fatal results for your dog. Dogs that are trapped in hot environments where they don’t have the ability to cool themselves down suffer from hyperthermia. When you are driving with your dog in your car, leave a window open for fresh air and keep the air conditioning running.
Extra special care
Certain breeds of cats and dogs have flat-shaped faces which makes it more difficult for them to regulate their body temperatures through panting, eg. Pekingese, Persians, and Pugs. Elderly or overweight pets, and pets with illnesses and health conditions should be kept out of the heat as much as possible and in an air-conditioned room.
If you plan on fertilizing your lawn or using weed killer, make sure you don’t let your pets outside right away. These products contain toxic chemicals that can be fatal to your pet. Make sure that your outdoor area isn’t one that will attract snakes- keep it clean and tidy. Remove any potential fire hazards on your property.
Know your pet
You know your pet and its regular habits. While panting helps dogs regulate their body temperature by expelling heat, excessive panting can be a sign of heat distress. Pay close attention to any signs that your pet may have heat distress- lethargy, not eating, excessive panting, vomiting or diarrhoea. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you think something is wrong.
We all want the best health for our pets, and with a little extra love and care this summer, and by following our tips, you can keep your pets happy, health and most importantly, safe.