Keeping our furry friends protected can sometimes be a challenging endeavor, especially in the summer. Between environmental and man-made hazards, the possibilities for catastrophe seem endless. Luckily, there are ways to keep your pet safe in the midst of the turmoil. Be sure to follow these summer pet safety tips!
How to beat the heat
Let’s talk first about how to beat the heat. Summer temperatures are brutal. And, for as much sweat and heat sickness, the sun gives us, our pets are equally as affected. When the cement heats up, the pads of our canine companion’s paws can blister and burn. This is why it’s important to check the ground with your hands. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pet. In order to combat this, using dog boots is quite effective against the scorching sidewalks. But even with this added protection, your dog can easily overheat.
It’s important to monitor your dog for signs of heatstroke, and limit his physical activity outdoors. Also, be sure your pet has plenty of cool, clean water. Dehydration, just like with people, can quickly cause heatstroke in animals. Water is vital in keeping your pet healthy and hydrated during the summer months. If your pet enjoys snacks, popsicles are a great treat for when the weather is too hot to bear. Using natural and safe ingredients, your pup will love licking on a cold, delicious popsicle. Watermelon seems to be a particular favorite among our canine friends.
Another thing to consider is your pet’s shelter. During the summer months, it’s best to keep your pet indoors. However, if your pet must remain outside, be sure they have adequate housing. They need shade, preferably off of any hard, sun-soaking surfaces. Tarps, dog houses, and trees are great for providing shade where your pet needs it most. However, please bring your pet indoors when temperatures begin to skyrocket.
Know the hazardous plants
But it isn’t just heat that poses a threat to our pets. Hazardous plants are also a contributing factor for pet deaths and illnesses. It is important to research the plants you want to grow in your yard or house. Poinsettias, for example, maybe a beautiful holiday flora, but the effects of indigestion from your pet are anything but. The milky white sap, known as diterpenoid euphorbol esters, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gas.
Flowers such as Oleanders, Lilies, and Azaleas are considered highly toxic and even deadly for pets. This is why clearing the yard of any unknown plants, and buying only those that are considered safe is so important. If you still choose to buy plants such as these, they need to be kept in a high place away from any animal’s reach. Keep in mind that cats are excellent jumpers and climbers, and can access even the hardest to reach places.
When treating the yard for these hazardous plants, and maybe even the weeds and fleas alike, be sure you move your pet out of the area beforehand. There are many harmful chemicals in pesticides and weed killers. After spraying, you should keep all pets away from the afflicted area for at least twenty-four to seventy-two hours. Make sure and read the instructions on the label of the product for proper use and storage.
And while fertilizer may seem an organic and safe bet for the yard, they also contain harmful chemicals. Some of these include Iron and Nitrogen. In larger quantities, these can result in severe poisoning. Some of the symptoms of chemical poisoning include:
- Muscle Tremors
Unfortunately, many of the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ fertilizers may sound more appealing, but oftentimes are more dangerous. They contain bone meal, blood meal, feather meal, and fish meal. While these might be tempting for your dog to ingest, they are poor for their digestive systems. Remember to always read the warning labels on the bag. And, when in doubt, call your veterinarian.
Know when and how to leave your pet
We all love our pets and hate leaving them at home. The guilt may even weigh on your conscience every time you have to leave the house without them. Perhaps you’re tempted to take them along. But, while you may adore your pet and want them to pal around with you, businesses often frown upon it. Because of these ‘No Pet’ policies, you might think to leave your pet in the car while you run inside. This is extremely dangerous! You should never leave your pet in a parked car, not even with the air conditioning running.
If the temperature outside reaches just eighty-five degrees, within ten minutes the temperature will rise to one-hundred and two, even with the windows slightly open. After half an hour, it will reach a whopping one-hundred and twenty degrees! This can permanently damage your pet’s internal organs, or even lead to death. Even if you plan to run in and out, it can still be a danger to your pet, especially if something unexpected comes along. So, while it may be tempting to take them along, please leave your pet at home where it’s cool.
During power outages, especially during times of crisis, please be sure you have an emergency plan in place for your pets. Be sure they have food, water, and plenty of cool air. Consider staying with a friend or relative. Alternatively, there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels as well. Keeping a to-go bag for emergencies is always a good idea. This minimizes the risk of forgetting necessities at the last minute and allows you to focus on getting you, your family, and your beloved friend to safety.
Another aspect of pet safety to consider is their travel arrangements. In the car, your pets will often roam around the back, curiously peeking their heads out of the window and gleefully pacing back and forth. While this might be enjoyable for them, it’s not safe. Seatbelts are recommended to keep your pet secure in its seat while still providing comfort. This will ensure that even if an accident occurs, your pet will not become a casualty.
There are many types of belts, both in-store and online. Be sure to read the height and weight requirements before making a purchase to ensure optimum safety.