Caring for Pets in the Summer
Summer Pet care
I’s all about our pets and we have some tips and advice for the dog and a bit about cats to keep them safe this summer.
My daughter-in-law Ashley, who has worked as a veterinarian tech, and LOVES animals, was so kind to prepare this article for us. Thanks Ash!
Updated with even more very useful information. Please check with your veterinarian about any questions concerning this post.
Summer Pet Care
4th of July Pet Safety
More pets are lost on July 4th than on any other day. Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe:
- Be sure your pet is wearing an up-to-date ID tag on its collar at all times.
- Take a current photo of your pet, just in case you need to locate your animal.
- Exercise your dog early in the day before the celebrations and parties begin. This will cause the dog to be tired, calm and easier to relax during the noise and commotion that comes with this holiday.
- Keep fireworks and sparklers away from all pets!!!
- During cookouts, ask guests to play with pets away from bbq flames.
If your pet is afraid of loud noises:
- Play a cd or the radio with soft music to drown out the sounds of the fireworks
- If possible, keep the pet in the basement where the noises cannot penetrate the area as well.
- Ask your veterinarian for a tranquilizer to help calm your pet if it is severely anxious.
- Give your pet distractions, such as a frozen treat or chew bone.
Tips and Suggestions
Pets can easily get over heated, some breeds more susceptible to heat related problems such as very thick coated cats and dogs (ex: Akitas & Malamutes – long haired cats & dogs) and those with flat faces (boxers, pugs, Persian cats).
- Leaving a pet in a car during the heat, even with the windows cracked can be dangerous. Even when it is 70-80 degrees outside, it can quickly rise to 100 degrees in the vehicle. Leaving a pet in a car, even for a few minutes can be dangerous for the animal.
- Use caution when taking your dog while exercising because it is closer to the ground and will get heated much more quickly then you will.
- To help with the heat, if you have a thick coated pet, trimming its coat will help. However, avoid going to short as the layers in their coat protect them from heat and sunburn.
- When using bug spray for pets, do not use anything with DEET in it. There are all natural ones, like Burt’s Bee’s (which is what I use for my pups) and some made specially for pets, found at most pet store.
- For sun screen, find one that does NOT contain Zinc Oxide, it is toxic to animals. Baby Sun screens, and animal specific usually do not have Zinc Oxide.
- It’s not a good idea to shave your pets hair very short. The hair acts like a barrier to protect again the Sun’s rays. Try thinning your pets hair, by brushing with a hair thinning brush like the Furminato
- Heart Worms have been an increasing issue passed along to dogs by mosquitoes. Ask your vet for more information and preventative measures
- When using insecticides and pesticides make sure these are safe for use around pets; otherwise they can be lethal to animals.
- Check often to make sure your pet has plenty of clean water. When traveling with your pet there are many options for water such as special water bottles to spill-proof water bowls.
- To cool down your pup of any age, put cool water in a small wading pool and be sure to keep enough water for the dog.
- When is hot too hot?
- Heavy panting
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive breathing
- Bright red gums & tongue
- Hard time keeping balance
- If your pet has these symptoms and you cannot cool down your pet and advanced signs of heat stroke begin to become apparent, immediately go to the veterinarian.
- White or blue gums
- Lethargic and unwilling to move
- Uncontrollable urination or defecation
- Labored, noisy breathing
If your dog or cat shows any of the signs above, immediately try to cool them down by:
- Apply rubbing alcohol to paws
- Apply ice packs to groin area
- Pour cool water on them
- Give it ice chips and small amounts of water
- Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes
***One way to tell if an animal is dehydrating is to pinch the skin on the back of its neck and pull up and let go. If it snaps back into place your pet is fine. If it is slow to go back in place, your pet is dehydrating. If the skin does not go back down, or takes a long time, your pet is severely dehydrated and should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
If you happen to see a pet left in a car when it is hot outside options are:
- Take note of the vehicle’s make, model and license plate. Ask the store manager or security
- Help you locate the owner of the car.
- In many states it is against the law to leave an animal in a hot car. If you live in an area with this law, call animal control or law enforcement.
- Keep an eye on the pet in the vehicle until help or the owner arrives.
Traveling with pets:
- Take plenty of water while traveling or hiking.
- Pack ‘poop’ bags and use them. Be a responsible pet owner.
- Do your homework and make sure that the location you want to take your pet is a pet-friendly place. Most hiking trails require that your dog is on a leash.
- A retractable leash allows your dog plenty of room to play, while allowing a tight rein when needed.
- Take along a dog toy, that way if you wear out before the dog does, you can sit, throw the toy for them to fetch.
- If hiking or going to a lake, your dog will most likely be very dirty or wet; pack towels to cover your seats for the ride home.
- If you take your dog on a hike or in the open, there is the potential for an encounter with a rodent or wild animal which could pose potential threat of disease such as rabies. Make sure your pet is up to date on its vaccines.
- There is a vaccine to help protect against rattle snake venom. It does not stop the venom, but slows it down enough that you have more time to get your pet into the vet.
Taking your dog to the park:
- Treat this activity with your dog, just as you would a child and do not take eyes off them. Though you may know the temperament of your own pet, you do not know that of other dogs.
- Make sure your dog is healthy and up to date on vaccines. It only takes one sick puppy for others to catch it. For instance Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly disease that can easily be spread throughout the dog community. It mostly affects young puppies and unvaccinated dogs. It is wise to avoid places like dog parks and pet shops until your dog has been vaccinated at least twice for the Parvo disease. Parvo can live in the soil for many years, making it an easy disease to spread from dog to dog.
- Please clean up after your dog!!! Keep ‘poop’ bags in your car or with you if walking.
- Many weeds can also harm your dog, such as fox tails which imbed themselves in a dogs ears, eyes, armpits and toes. Ask your veterinarian which plants and weeds to be cautious of in your area and what to look for if your pet is exposed.
The Yellow Dog Project
If you own a dog that ‘needs their own space’ while out with other dogs, The Yellow Dog Project is the solution! The concept is this: if you see a dog with a yellow ribbon tied to its leash or collar this signals to give the dog space and not to approach the animal.
Possible reasons a dog needs space:
- Health issues
- Dog in training
- Animal in rehabilitation from surgery
- Dog is frightened/aggressive toward other dogs or certain types of people (example: children)
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
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