Summer is a time of relaxation and good times. With barbecues, the Fourth of July, road trips and more, it can be easy to forget about your furry friends. Humans aren’t the only ones who need to stay safe, pets do too —here are some common problems that pets face during the summer and how you can help.
- Sun and heat
Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, so make sure they have adequate access to shade, air conditioning, and water. Know the signs of over-heating, panting, weakness, and increased heart-rate. If you’re going to walk your dog, make sure to bring along a water bottle or a portable bowl and take frequent water breaks.
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
Pay attention to the pavement, if it is too hot to touch with the back of your hand, then it is too hot to walk your dog. Hot pavement can burn their paws, which can lead to infections and other difficulties.
Keep your cats hydrated too, outdoor cats can quickly become dehydrated, so make sure they have access to fresh water. Cats are also at risk for having their paws burnt by hot pavement, so make sure to provide shaded areas for cats as well.
- Fireworks and thunderstorms
According to the ASPCA, one in five pets will go missing after being scared by loud noises, so keep them in a quiet secure area at home. Consider having your pet micro-chipped in case they do go missing. You can also use Facebook groups like, “Lost and Found Pets in Scioto County,” to post photos of your pet should they turn up missing or if you find a lost pet in your area.
Keep your cat indoors during this holiday to prevent injury and reduce fear. For an outdoor cat, the sudden loud sounds of fireworks can be very startling and may cause them to bolt into oncoming traffic, if possible, move them indoors until the display ends.
Fireworks are also a threat to curious dogs that might try to eat them, fireworks are made with chemicals like potassium nitrate, and parts (like a fuse) that could get stuck in the stomach, they can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seizures, and shallow breathing. Keep yours out of reach, and clear your yard of debris after you set off your display.
- Parties and Barbecues
It’s important to keep your dog away from human foods, especially common picnic foods like grapes, onions, avocado, chocolate and alcoholic drinks.
The same can be said for cats, many human foods are not appropriate for consumption by cats. Provide a trashcan nearby for guests to empty their leftovers so cats and dogs can’t gain access and discourage guests from being tempted by begging cats and dogs.
Avoid using charcoal briquettes. Dogs seem to love to lap up or steal from the grill, and charcoal briquettes can easily get stuck in the stomach, causing vomiting and requiring surgery.
- Hot cars
Under no circumstances should you ever leave your pet in the car. Even with the windows cracked, a car’s temperature can reach 100 degrees in 10 minutes on an 85-degree day.
A bill that allows people to break into vehicles to save children and animals has also been signed into law by Gov. John Kasich. It protects people from civil liability and damages. Protection from civil liability would only apply if the person also calls the police or 9-1-1 and believes leaving the child or animal in the vehicle would lead to injury or death.The law does not protect people who recklessly break into vehicles or do more damage than is necessary to save the child or animal.
- Toxic chemicals
Insecticides, insect repellents, sunscreen, citronella products and glow sticks are toxic and it’s important to keep them away from your pet.
Rose and garden plant food containing insecticides can contain potentially fatal compounds. If your dog tries to eat a bag of it (or soil that’s been treated with it), they could suffer diarrhea, profuse vomiting, shock, seizures, and even death.
Check the products packaging or call their customer care lines to see how long you need to wait before your pets can come into contact with the lawn after application.
- Keep pets bug-free
Hookworms and heart-worms are more prevalent during the summer and can gain access to your pet through the pads of the feet. Ask your vet for a prescription for Heartguard Plus or Interceptor Flavor Tabs, which will help keep parasites at bay.
Kitty may think it’s a game to pounce on a yellow jacket or wasp but it won’t have a good outcome. Watch for stinging insects and be aware of nearby nests. Additionally, don’t leave food or drinks around that contain sugar because they attract bees.
Opt for pet-friendly insect repellents. One option is all-natural Heavenly Organic Ecoshield. Its botanical blend of plant and essential oils repels fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes. Check with your veterinarian first to find safe repellents for your pet.
If not protected, your dog is at risk for heart-worms, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other nasty and dangerous conditions. And don’t forget, many of these diseases can be caught by people too.
- Swimming Safety
Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim, doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers. And if your dog jumps in your swimming pool, he might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Make sure your dog can’t get into your swimming pool without you around.
If you don’t have a swimming pool, and your dog loves the water, consider getting them a “kiddy” pool, they will have fun splashing around and getting wet keeps them cool without the risk of drowning. A water hose or a sprinkler may also be a solution.
By following these tips, your pets can stay happy and healthy all summer long. And remember, if you see a child or pet in need this summer, stay calm and call 9-1-1.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext 1932 or Facebook, “Ciara Conley - Daily Times” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara