Modern Medicine, Old-Fashioned Care

Jun 3, 2013 | General Health

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

It’s officially summer! It’s the perfect time for a refresher on summer safety for your pet. Our cats and dogs are family. They need the same protection and care as we do during long, hot days and summer celebrations.

Sun Protection

Sun protection is a must if your pet spends a lot of time in the sun. Frequent exposure to the sun can increase skin problems, including secondary infections, and lead to skin cancer. Pet’s noses, ears and abdomens are the most susceptible to sunburn.

Provide cover from the sun over outdoor runs. Umbrellas and tents also offer a break from direct sunlight.

Sunscreen can be applied but look for products that are safe for animals, like Bullfrog brand, or ask our veterinarians for a recommendation.  Beware: Zinc oxide is toxic to dogs and sunscreens containing salicylates are toxic for cats.  Limit their time outdoors or consider clothing with UV protection and eye protection. 

Keeping it Cool

We recommend keeping your pet inside, with air conditioning or a cool fan, during the hottest hours. Shade areas also help keep your pet cooler. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, provide a well-ventilated dog house to escape the hot sun. 

Hydration is essential!

Whether your pets are in the yard, on a walk or at the park, make sure they have access to plenty of cool, fresh water. Keep a supply of drinking water and a container or travel water dish with you at all times. A water spritz bottle with a fine mist is a fun way to cool the face, body and paws. 

Never leave your dog locked in a car!

It can take minutes for heatstroke and death to occur. That quick trip into the store always takes longer than you think. Cracking open the car window is not a solution and vehicle air conditioning systems can fail or turn off if Fido happens to step on the wrong button.

Hot Surfaces & Open Flames

Hot sidewalks, roadways and sand can burn paw pads. Walk early in the morning and during evening hours, or take a short walk in a grassy area.

Getting too close to grills and open flames can result in burns to the face and paws. Keep lighter fluid, lighters, citronella candles and insect repellent out of reach.

The doggie paddle isn’t a guarantee your dog knows how to swim or wants to swim. Use a small baby pool to introduce your dog to the water. Always supervise your pet near water; safety fencing around the pool is a good way to protect pets and children. Give your dog a break from the water often; swimming can create fatigue and water intoxication is possible if your dog drinks too much water while swimming and playing in the water.

Consider an animal life jacket, especially if your dog likes boating with you. If lakes, ponds or rivers are a favorite swimming spot, talk to one of our veterinarians about protection against parasites like Giardia.

 Picnic Foods to Avoid

Bones and corn-on-the-cob are choking hazards. Greasy, fatty meats can cause upset digestive system with diarrhea and vomiting.

 These foods are toxic:

  • Grapes/raisins
  • Alcohol/coffee/tea
  • Chocolate
  • Onions/chives/garlic 

Fireworks & Thunderstorms

Animals can experience noise phobias to fireworks and thunder which result in anxiety or stress and a strong reaction. Signs of a noise phobia include: trying to hide, shaking/trembling, excessive drooling, loss of bladder control and loss of appetite. The fears are real and should not be punished.

In the case of fireworks, it’s best not to bring your pet to a fireworks display since frightened pets can react with unexpected or abnormal behaviors. Behavior modification or gradual desensitization can help a pet overcome noise phobia. There are also natural products and special clothing to help reduce the stress. Talk to one of our veterinarians about methods for managing this condition.

Fireworks, including sparklers, can cause burns. Unused or defective fireworks contain toxic substances or may explode without warning.