Summertime means you can finally get out of the house on a regular basis to spend some quality time wearing out your pup at the park or venturing out together for a long hike. But with the added freedom that warmer weather brings also comes a list of potentially dangerous things — like heatstroke, tick bites, and burned paws — that all pet owners should be aware of. Here are 15 hazards to watch out for to keep your dogs and cats safe all summer long.
1. Watch out for signs of dehydration.
Your pets can get dehydrated pretty quickly in the summer heat, so make sure you always have cool water and a shaded spot to hang out. Things like excessive panting, drooling, and weakness are all warning signs that your pet may need to take a beverage break.
2. Hot asphalt can burn paws.
Check to see how hot the asphalt is before venturing out with your pup for a long afternoon walk. If it's too hot for you to stand on barefoot, chances are it's too hot for your dog's sensitive paws too. Just think — when it's 86 degrees outside, the asphalt is around 135 degrees.
3. Don't leave your pet in the car.
Just don't do it. Ever.
4. Check your window screens.
While it's tempting to open the windows and air out your house on a warm day, you should always check that all your window screens are secure and intact. A loose screen is an easy way to loose your cat, so save yourself from one serious panic attack and do a quick check before you leave the windows open all day.
5. Don't share your food.
Your dog might be looking at you with one intense set of puppy dog eyes, but try to resist giving in and offering the leftovers from the day's barbecue. Fatty leftovers can give your dog pancreatitis and things like peach pits and corn cobs can get stuck in their intestines if swallowed.
6. SPF is a must.
We already told you how important SPF is for your dog, especially if they're of the light colored short-haired variety, but it's worth mentioning again. If you think your pooch might have a sunburn, follow this handy guide and soothe it with aloe vera, vitamin E and witch hazel.
7. Protect your pet against pests.
The warm weather brings out the real pests. Make sure the disease-carrying ticks and fleas stay off your fur-babies by treating them with a dual preventative. Even one bite is too many. Your pet's health is well worth the extra expense.
8. Just say "no" to hairdos.
You may think you're doing your Siberian Husky a favor by shaving off all her hair now that the temperature is sky rocketing, but you're actually doing the exact opposite. The many layers of your dog's coat help keep her cool and even protects her from getting a sunburn.
9. Refrain from fireworks.
Many pets are afraid of loud noises and can get lost, scared or disorientated. Be compassionate by making sure they have a quiet, escape-proof hideout to retreat to if the holiday festivities get too loud.
10. Avoid heatstroke.
Keep your pup-partnered exercises to the early morning or evening hours to avoid a potential heatstroke. Some warning signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lethargy, vomiting, and a deep red or purple tongue. Treat it by moving them to a cool room, applying ice packs, and getting them to the vet ASAP.
11. Drive safely.
Your dog may love riding with his head out the window on a sunny day and it might be way easier to have them ride in the bed of your truck after a romp at the park than dirty your car's interior — but both can cause your pet to be seriously injured. From dirt and gravel flying in their eyes to a life-threatening car accident, safety always comes first.
12. Consider community animals too.
Always keep your bird baths filled with clean water and keep an extra water dish on the ground for any feral or runaway cats in your area. They may have a hard time finding water for themselves in the hot weather.
13. Be careful of critters.
Going on more hikes and long walks thanks to the increasingly warm weather means there are more chances to encounter dangerous or unpleasant wildlife life skunks, scorpions, toads, and porcupines. Just watch your step and don't let your dog chase any wild animals.
14. Keep it cool indoors.
The idea of turning off your AC when you're going to be gone all day to try and save money is appealing, but it'll cost your pets their comfort. If it's too warm for you, it's too warm for them.
15. Treat annoying allergies.
While we usually suffer most from allergies in the spring, your pets are most affected in the summer (particularly August). The causes of their allergies and their reactions to them are surprisingly close to our own. Breeds most prone to allergies include all types of bulldogs, Highland terriers, basset hounds, bichons and pit bulls.
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