It’s that time of year again! Summer is upon us and if you have a pet, it can be an especially enjoyable time to be outside at the park, pool, or just take a long stroll around the city.
But before you strap Fido’s harness on and head to the beach, we recommend you read the following tips on how to keep your furry friends comfortable and safe this summer.
Avoid the groomer: Despite the common belief that shaving your pet will help them stay cool, it can actually be quite harmful. The layers of a pet’s coat help protect them from overheating or getting sunburnt. For dogs, it is recommended that you try putting them in a cooling vest or bandana! You can help keep your cat nice and cool by frequently brushing its fur.
Practice water safety: No, not all dogs are great swimmers–so they should never be left unsupervised near a pool or lake. It is equally important to be careful when visiting the beach. As much as your dog might love running in the waves, salt water can be deadly and quickly cause dehydration. Make sure to rinse your dog off after swimming to remove harmful chemicals or salt water and give them fresh water to drink. Also, be aware that a wet coat can also cause overheating as the undercoat of a pet’s fur can trap the heat as it dries.
Test the cement: Before long walks with your dog, make sure you feel the temperature on the cement. If it is almost too hot to touch, it is too hot for their paws. Aim for the early morning and late evening hours and try and keep the length of walks to a minimum when temperatures are above 75 degrees.
Be careful with summer snacks: Summer is a great time to get together for barbeques and picnics, but many foods can be toxic for pets and should be kept out of reach. Also, be careful with plastic or potato chip bags as they can cause suffocation.
Fireworks and pets don’t mix: More pets are reported missing on July 4th than any other day of the year. Fireworks can cause significant stress for animals, so it is recommended to keep them inside and in a quiet, secure area.
Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle: In New York, it is illegal to keep an animal confined in a hot car. Even if the temperature outside is only 70°, the inside of your car can be much as 20 degrees hotter. The ASPCA recommends that if you see an animal trapped in a car, try and locate the owner or call 911.
Make sure your windows have screens: A cool summer breeze is a welcome relief from the heat, but make sure that all opened windows are screened to prevent cats or other pets from escaping.
Know the signs: Be aware of possible signs of overheating, such as excessive panting (yes, even cats pant), dry or bright red gums, wobbly legs, vomiting, thick drool, or skin that snaps back quickly.
Pets need sunscreen too: If you are planning on having your pet outside for an extended period of time, apply pet approved sunscreen. Your vet can advise you on the best product for your pet. Apply sunscreen every 3-4 hours to exposed areas such as bellies, ears, and nose.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!: It might seem obvious, but make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times. Keep a water bottle with you when you go outside and change your pet’s water bowl a few times a day. Don’t forget the ice cubes!