Summer is almost here! Everyone loves to get outdoors after being cooped up all winter, but take a few minutes now to make sure your pets have a safe and healthy summer too.
HOT CARS KILL!!! There is no other way to say it. Don’t think that just because you’ll only be “a few minutes” that your pet is going to be OK. The chart below shows how quickly the temperature inside a vehicle goes up.
Dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. Short-nosed breeds, young pets, seniors or pets with weight, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health problems are especially susceptible to heat-related stress. Cats fare no better. If the place you are going won’t allow your pets inside with you - leave them home!
It is best to keep your pets indoors at all times, but if you care for outdoor cats or (know someone who does), make sure the animals have shelter from sun fresh water which will have to be checked and replenished frequently due to evaporation.
Remember that animals, especially those with white or light fur, can get sunburn and skin cancer just like people. The skin on their noses and ears is particularly vulnerable. Ask your veterinarian about sun screen specially formulated for dogs if you plan to take your dog to the beach of it they are outside for long periods of time.
Light-skinned, white-haired cats that spend a lot of time lying in windowsills are at risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma which usually appears as a red, crusty or ulcerated spot on the tips of the ears. Applying sunscreen frequently and by adding shades or a reflective film on your windows to filter UV rays will help reduce the risk of skin cancer but because cats are fastidious groomers and are likely to ingest topically applied sunscreen, purchase a product specifically formulated for use on cats.
Not all dogs are good swimmers so never leave your dog unattended in a pool, and rinse her thoroughly after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from her fur. Finally, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset. If you take your dog boating, make she he wears a flotation device.
Give your dog a summer haircut. He will feel better and you’ll have less vacuuming to do. Just make sure you use a reputable, safe groomer.
Make sure you have strong and secure screens in your windows so that your cat won’t accidentally fall out if she is enjoying the fresh air on a window sill. Its best not to leave windows open more than an inch or two if you are not home to supervise your cat. Never let a small kitten alone on a window sill.
Hot sidewalks and street surfaces can quickly burn the skin on your pet’s paw pads. And dogs can overheat quickly in hot weather, so keep walks to a minimum, preferably in early morning or late evening when the heat of the day is less intense.
Avoid walking your dog in grassy areas that you suspect have been treated with insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers or other chemicals that may be poisonous. If you think your pet might have been exposed contact your veterinarian immediately.
Never take your pets to a fireworks display or use fireworks around them at home. Fireworks often contain hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals which can be highly toxic if ingested by a curious animal. Some animals are also afraid of loud noises and may run from the area and get lost, especially if you are at a community fireworks event here there are crowds and lots of traffic. It’s just not worth it.