As you and your pets enjoy all the fun and relaxation summer has to offer, we want to help you ensure your pet’s safety this summer with our Summer Pet Safety Checklist – brought to you by Best Friends Pet Hotel’s Veterinary Expert and Consultant, Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM.
1. Make sure your pet stays hydrated.
Your pet should have an unlimited supply of clean, fresh water at all times but especially in the summer. A pet, who does not, could seek other water sources like a puddle or pond that can contain deadly viruses like leptospirosis or toxic blue green alga.
2. Make sure the ground is not too hot for your pet’s paws before walking or playing.
If it is uncomfortable for you to walk barefoot on the asphalt, it is also uncomfortable for your pet. If you must walk your pet on concrete or asphalt during the summer, make sure it is early in the morning or at dusk when the surface is cooler.
Before you go, try the five second rule. Apply the back of your hand to the surface you will be walking your pet on, if it is too uncomfortable for you to hold the back of your hand firmly against it for 5 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pet.
This also applies to the concrete around your pool. If you notice your dog limping, then check the pads of the feet. If you see the skin peeling off or lifting up, please seek veterinary assistance.
3. Invest in a doggy life vest.
Speaking of pools and water. It is a great way for your pet to cool off but believe it or not, not all dogs can swim. It is good to have a properly fitting doggy life vest on your dog around the pool and especially when boating. It can literally save a life.
4. Protect your pet from fleas and ticks.
Parasites!! Yeah, I said it! No one is a fan of fleas and ticks. Not only do they spread disease to you and your pets but also can causing itching, rashes and sores. Being on the offense is better here. Make sure you use flea and tick prevention for your pet year round. You will thank me later.
5. Protect your pet from mosquitos.
Let’s not forget our friend the mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit heart worm disease to your dog. Again being on the offense here is best medicine. Please use heartworm prevention on your pet year round. There are also products for dogs that will repel mosquitoes but that doesn’t mean you should forgo the heartworm prevention medication. It is just an added layer of protection.
6. Protect your pet from flies.
Since we are on an insect role, let’s talk about fly strike. Yes, I know it’s ugly. This is when your dog enjoys spending lots of time outside and those nasty biting flies start biting and sucking blood from your dog usually at the tip of ears causing crusts, scabs and oozing sores. Again prevention is the best medicine. If it’s fly biting season, keep your pets indoors as much as possible. There are also pet approved medications you can apply to your dog to deter the insects from biting.
7. Protect your pet from maggots.
Unfortunately, what comes after flies are maggots. Yes, you read that correctly. Flies lay these eggs in the wound of skin. When they hatch, they are maggots that feed off your pet and can cause an extensive life threatening infection. This frequently happens in long hair dogs who are accumulating feces on their fur usually because they are having bouts of diarrhea. If your pet is having loose stools, seek veterinary assistance and don’t leave your pet outside.
8. Don’t shave your pet for the summer.
Speaking of long hair, do not shave your pet!
Yes your pet needs to be groomed to prevent matts, knots and sores but it does not need to be shaved to keep it cool in the summer. It is important to make sure your pet is brushed out by summer so that thick undercoat naturally sheds allowing your pet to keep its hair and remain cool.
Pets fur/hair also protects it from the sun. Without this protection, your dog is susceptible to sun burns. What comes after sun burn? Skin cancer. No one wants that. Once again, prevention is key.
9. Protect your pet against heatstroke.
Last but not least, heatstroke. The older or younger your pet, the more susceptible it is to heatstroke.
Pets need to be provided an environment that allows them to get cool. Pets will naturally seek out a cooler place if they are feeling too warm, like digging that hole in the cool dirt under a tree to lie in. Never, ever leave your pet in a bright sunny location for extended period of time.
Equally important NEVER leave your dog in a car during even a warm day, let alone hot, no matter how short of time – even if the windows are cracked.
The temperature inside a car dramatically elevates within a couple of minutes causing a life threatening environment for your pet.
It is better just to leave Fido at home if you need to run errands that he can’t go inside with you.
So get out and enjoy the summer months with your pet. Just remember prevention is the best medicine.