Summer is traditionally a time for outdoor play, travel, and adventure. But before you rush off for some summer fun, it’s essential to consider the hot-weather risks that could affect your pets. Here are 7 tips for helping your pets have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer.
1. Never leave pets in a hot car.
In summer, outdoor temperatures can climb into the 90s and beyond. But inside a car, even with the windows cracked open, temperatures can rise to over 120ºF in just minutes, making heat exhaustion a genuine risk. Dogs and cats cannot perspire the way we do to cool themselves down, so when they become overheated, they have little recourse. Also, small animals are more quickly overwhelmed by heat exhaustion than humans, so even 10 minutes in a hot can be dangerous—even deadly—for a small dog or cat. If your pet shows signs of heatstroke (lethargy, shallow panting, sunken eyes, tacky gums, or unconsciousness), take your animal to a vet immediately.
2. Always provide ample shade and water.
If your pets are going to be accompanying you on vacation, or just chilling in the backyard, be sure that no matter where you take them, they have ample access to cold water and shade. Remember, pets don’t sweat, so they’ll need a place to cool down and plenty of fresh drinking water in order to stay hydrated and keep their body temps within the healthy range. As an added precaution, you can gently wipe your pet’s body down with a damp cloth. This will simulate the cooling effect of perspiration and help your pet cool down more quickly.
3. Pack a travel bag for your pet.
If you’re planning a long road trip with your pets, be sure they have a travel bag packed with necessities like food, fresh water, a travel bowl, treats, toys, and some basic first-aid items (bandages, antibiotic cream, burn cream, snakebite antivenom, etc.).
4. Never leave pets unsupervised around pools.
A swimming pool can provide a welcome cool-down on a hot summer day, but for pets, a pool can be a drowning hazard. Always keep a watchful eye on your pets if they are outdoors when your pool is uncovered. Above-ground pools that are accessed only by ladder are especially dangerous for pets. A crafty dog or curious cat may be able to get into the pool and then find it impossible to escape.
5. Be safe around fireworks.
Most house pets tend to shy away from loud noises, so chances are that the start of an evening fireworks display will send your animal looking for a place to hunker down and hide. Be sure your pet has a safe space to escape the noise and flash of fireworks. You can set up a “den” for your pet with just a box, a favorite blanket, and some comforting toys. And of course, keep your pet clear of any home fireworks hazards like an open flame.
6. Defend your pet from parasites.
Summer is the time when fleas and ticks are most active. If your pet spends significant time outdoors, be sure they are wearing some type of flea and tick preventive. Check your animal regularly for ticks. Remember that the tiny deer tick (smaller than the dog tick) can transmit Lyme disease, so give your animal a regular flea combing and check areas behind the ears and around paws and legs to remove any attached ticks.
7. Be sure your pet is immunized
Before you set out on your summer adventures, check with your vet to ensure that your pets are up-to-date on all their vaccines and immunizations. A well-pet checkup is also an excellent opportunity to ask your vet for any recommendations for summer pet safety.
At Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic, we understand how important your pets are to you. That’s why we provide professional, compassionate care for every animal that comes through our doors. Our experienced veterinarians and techs are eager to help you and your pet have a fun and safe summer. So enjoy!
Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic, located at 3270 Richmond Road in Lexington, KY, is dedicated and focused on providing the highest quality medical and surgical services for our patients. Since 1981 we have served the needs of dogs and cats in Lexington and surrounding Central Kentucky with the mission to provide the utmost care, comfort, and quality of life.
Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic and its sister clinic, Tates Creek Animal Hospital, are both members of the Kentucky Veterinary Practice Group, local experts for compassionate pet care. Dr. Kevin Smith and his team of veterinarians and technicians use the most advanced technology and techniques. Should you have a question for our office or staff, please contact us at (859) 263-5037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.