To say it’s hot out there would be an understatement, but obviously daily life goes on, no matter what the weather brings. Summer has its own unique set of hazards when it comes to pet safety. Here are some tips to keep your furry ones safe during these warmer months.
In the car
Even with the window cracked and even if you park in the shade, your car’s interior temperature can still reach well over 120 degrees in a matter of minutes. That is just on an average summer day in the Northeast. That’s a risk you cannot take. Many pet owners like to have their dog tag along on errands and other outings, but the safest place for him to be during the summer is at home, even if it means he is by himself, rather than with you. Never leave him in a car unattended. Not even for a minute. If you do happen to see a pet left alone in a car, it would be reasonable to notify the authorities if the owner cannot be immediately located. Animal control, emergency personnel and police officers have the authority to use the means to rescue your pet and you can be charged with animal cruelty. Think twice before you run into that store “just for a minute”.
On the road
Summer is a time for family road trips and many people take their pets along with them. Make sure that your pet is properly restrained while riding in the car. When you stop for that bathroom break or to get gas, your pet can easily bolt from the car. Because you are not in familiar surroundings, it is much more difficult, if not impossible, for them to find their way back to you. Many pets are lost each year while traveling on the road. Take extra care any time you open your car door. A crate, pet car seat or harness is ideal. At the very least, make sure your pet is wearing ID tags. Microchipping is a great option. It’s not very expensive and provides a means to identify your pet in the event they lose their collar and/or tags. If you do find a pet, always take it to a veterinarian’s office to be scanned for a microchip. The scan is free of charge.
Make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times. Maybe even a few ice cubes too. Dogs can quickly become overheated and suffer from potentially fatal heat stroke. If you see your pet acting strange after being exposed to the heat, keep a close eye on them. Help them cool down by offering a drink of water and allow them to lie on a cool wet towel. If your dog is vomiting, seems disoriented or has labored breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately. Save those long walks for very early in the morning and after the hottest part of the day has passed. Dogs do not perspire the way that humans do and heat can very quickly get trapped within a dog’s body. Heat stroke is very serious. Also, be sure to consider your dog’s foot pads when taking them for walks. They can easily get burned on the pavement.
Many dogs are intensely afraid of thunderstorms. Summer can also be a season of various other weather-related events. Derecho, anyone? Again, many dogs are afraid of these storms and can bolt out of fear – even from the safety of their own homes. Keep an eye on your pets during any thunderstorms and make sure they are safe and secure without an easy way to run out the door. It only takes a couple of seconds. If your pet suffers from severe anxiety during these storms, consider a Thundershirt or anti-anxiety meds.
Remember that your pets rely on your to keep them safe and healthy. Summer can be a lot of fun, but taking some extra precautions can go a long way. Happy Summer!