10 Summer Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe

With summer quickly approaching it is time for a friendly reminder on how you can keep your furry companion safe!

1. Be sure to provide plenty of water and shade:
We have to remember that our pets wear fur coats year round and they become hot fast, which increases their chance of dehydration and heat stroke. If you are out with your pet, be sure they have access to lots of fresh water and shade, and also keep in mind the temperature. If it is too hot, then they should stay inside to reduce the risk of getting heat stroke, which can come on very quickly.

2. Do NOT leave your pet in the car:
It is a common occurrence every year, and a lot of pets lose their lives because they are left in the car. We have to remember that not only are our pets wearing a fur coat, but our vehicles are like greenhouses and they heat up very quickly in a short period of time even with the windows open. Heat stroke can actually happen within 5 minutes, and your pets body temperature can reach dangerous temperatures, which can cause organ damage. So if you need to go to the store on a hot day, or need to make a quick stop, please take your pet home then go or leave them home where they are safe.

3. Know the signs of overheating/heat stroke:
Knowing the signs of heat stroke is very important this time of year. Some dogs can develop this condition fairly quick in temperatures that we may find comfortable. Dogs and cats cannot sweat like we do and can only pant and drink water to help bring down their body temperature. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Heavy panting
  • Thick drool
  • Bright red or dry gums
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy

If you happen to notice any of the above-mentioned symptom’s, then wet your pet down with cool water and visit the nearest veterinary hospital right away.

4. Keep pesky parasites away!
We are well into a season full of ticks, fleas, and intestinal parasites! Have your pet on parasite prevention from your veterinarian, as we do have all of these parasites in our area. Ticks are a big deal in our area.

5. Timing is everything.
With the heat coming, so keep your walks at the cooler times of the day. Doing this will not only keep your pet from overheating but will also help protect their feet from getting burned on the hot pavement during the hotter times of the day.

6. Fireworks…yay or nay?
Fireworks are a big thing in the summertime, and we all love to get out and enjoy them with our family and friends. Unfortunately, our furry friends do not enjoy them as much as we do and it can actually cause some severe anxiety and fear in them which can cause them to slip their collar or fight hard enough to run away because they are so scared. So this Canada Day consider leaving your pet home for the nighttime festivities!

7. Stay Vaccinated!
Be sure that your pet is up to date on their vaccines. There are many things that wildlife or other infected animals can shed into the environment such as Distemper, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis, and also rabies that can be carried within the wildlife which we do vaccinate for.

Then there are pesky ticks that carry Lyme disease. Our first line of defence for these guys is prevention. However, there is a vaccine for Lyme disease that you can have given to your pet as a second line of defence. Does your dog go to doggie daycare or boarding while you travel? You may want to add bordetella to the list of vaccines as well. Does your kitty go outside? Feline leukemia is highly recommended to vaccinate your outdoor kitty with as it is highly contagious amongst cats.

8. Boating? Grab them a life jacket too!
A lot of people take their dogs out on the water with them in the summer, and they love it! Whether you take them kayaking, boating, or paddle boarding, be sure to put a pet specific life jacket on them just in case they happen to get tired during their adventure.

9. Know your Plants!
It is the season for gardening, and with that, comes toxic plants! Be sure to know what you are growing in your yard. Click here to see the following link to see what is safe and what is toxic to your pet.

10. Rinse and repeat.
How much time does your dog spend at the lake? Are you rinsing them after they are done enjoying some fun in the water? If not, you may want to consider rinsing them down well after they have gone swimming because the water they are swimming in can have a high amount of bacteria in it that can cause skin infections. These can be quite irritating, moist and smelly, which is not pleasant for them. After rinsing, be sure to comb them out to allow air under the hair to help dry it and prevent moisture getting trapped against the skin.

Have a great fun-filled summer!

Written by: Halifax Veterinary Hospital