Summer is a time for both you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors. But along with the fun, the season also offers dangers for your pet. With summer's warmer temperatures and the propensity to spend more time outdoors, it's important you keep your pet safe and healthy during the hottest months of the year.
Running errands: While taking your pet with you on errands, you should never leave your pet in the car. In a matter of minutes, your car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit -- even in the shade. If you know that your pet is not welcome at a place you're stopping, leave your pet home where it's cool and comfortable. Some stores allow dogs to be tied up in the shade outside and even provide water bowls to keep them cool. If you do this, make sure to limit your time in the store.
Driving: Driving with pets can be a challenge, but the right products can help keep your pets safe. Always travel with your furry friends secured safely inside a crate (or in a seatbelt with a harness designed for dogs) in the back seat of the car. It may be tempting to allow large dogs to ride in the bed of a truck, but this is both dangerous and, in some states, illegal. Not only can flying debris cause serious injury, but a pet may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car. If your dog must ride in the bed, make sure he is in a crate that is adequately secured.
Staying hydrated: Hot weather increases the risk of dehydration in both humans and animals. Provide your pets with plenty of water, both indoors and out, to keep them cool and hydrated. Make sure you check your dog's water dish several times a day, and you may want to consider investing in a cat fountain for your feline friend. In addition, when pets are hot and thirsty, they are more likely to seek out puddles of liquid to drink from. Provide plenty of water and watch out for antifreeze around your home and your neighborhood to keep your pets from drinking it.
Exercising: Pets need exercise, even when it's hot, but extra care needs to be taken when the temperatures rise in the summer. On very hot days, limit exercise to morning or evening hours, and keep walks at a slow, steady pace. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws during the heat of the day. Take extra precautions with older pets, puppies and kittens, and those with thick coats, as they have a harder time regulating their body temperature.
Protecting from bugs and pests: Warm weather means more time outdoors for you and your pet. This, however, is the prime time for your animals to pick up fleas, ticks, and other pests. Check through fur and between toes for ticks every time your pet comes in, especially if he's been playing in tall grasses or shrubs. Flea collars and sprays can help deter pests from attacking your pet. If you find any suspicious bites on your pet's skin or he begins showing signs of sickness, take him to the veterinarian right away.