Practicing pet safety in the summer

BeachDog_wBall_blogWarm days are upon us!

We aren’t the only ones who enjoy summertime – pets also seem to relish the sun and warmth. However, it’s important certain precautions are taken to ensure pets are kept healthy and happy, especially given how toasty it can get.

Check out these tips from the American Kennel Club (AKC) for keeping our furry friends safe during summer:

  • Don’t leave pets locked in cars when it’s hot outside. The temperature inside the vehicle can quickly rise, with potentially fatal consequences. It’s also illegal in many states.
  • Pets need heat relief too. Ensure pets have a shady spot to escape the heat. Kiddie pools also can provide relief for dogs in hot weather (be sure to watch pets near water, especially smaller animals).
  • That being said, lots of drinking water is vital. Like their humans, pets can get parched in the heat too. Keep water on hand, especially during walks or outings.
  • Avoid walking on asphalt or sand, which can heat up to blazing temperatures in the summer and can cause severe burns to your pet’s foot pads.
  • A trip to the vet may be in order to update vaccinations as your pet may be outside more frequently and therefore, exposed to other animals, which could pass on unwanted illnesses or parasites. Also, check with your vet about flea, tick and mosquito control. These pesky critters can spread serious illness, such as heartworm.

Recognizing the signs of heatstroke in a pet also is vital. Early symptoms include excessive drooling, quick breathing and heavy panting. The animal may also try to spread out its limbs or “stand in a four-square” to keep its balance.

More serious symptoms include lethargy, shock, labored or loud breathing, white or blue gums and loss of bladder control. These symptoms warrant an immediate trip to the vet.

AKC also recommends trying to cool the animal down by applying ice packs to the groin area, giving a small amount of water or ice chips, dabbing rubbing alcohol on their foot pads or hosing with water.

Read the all of AKC’s recommendations here. The ASPCA also has a great guide with pet safety summer tips. For horses, check out this article on heat stress from The Horse.

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