Summer Pet Tips

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June 11, 2012
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It’s going to be summer soon which means more time outside, windows open, and soaking up the sun with our family. For many of us, family includes our pets. Summer activities with our pets is healthy for everyone, but there are some saftey measures we should take so that no one gets hurt or ill.

Here are 5 tips for summer fun with your best buddy:

1: H2O – Dogs and cats don’t have as many sweat glands as we do. They cannot cool off like we can. Dogs pant and cats can too. The water lost by panting needs to be replaced. Keep fresh cool water available for your pet at all times. When you go to the dog park, don’t forget to take a bottle of cold water for your pup. He’ll be thirsty after all that running around. After long walks, offer some water and then a potty break about a half hour afterwards.  During long car rides, take a break and let your dog quench his thirst. Your dog may become overheated before you do.

2: Never leave your pet in the car – On sunny, warm days never leave your dog in the car. Ever. The air in a parked car doesn’t circulate and the temperature can rise within minutes to a point where it can become life threatening. Even if the windows are cracked open and you park in the shade, cars heat up like ovens and can be unbearable. It would be best to leave your buddy home if you’re going to places where he can’t come.

3: Block the sun - It may be surprising to learn that pets with light-colored skin and hair can get sunburned. Extensive time in the sun can even result in skin cancer. If you’re going out for a long walk, play in the park, or a hike talk to your vet about using pet safe sunscreen that can be applied to the sensitive and unprotected areas like ears and their nose.

4: Don’t forget some shade- If your pet will be outside in the yard or out and about with you, don’t forget to find some shade for him to rest. Having an outdoor bbq and party? If your pet is going to be out there with you, the sunshine can overheat him, burn his skin, or just become extremely uncomfortable. Just as we sometimes need to sit under an umbrella or awning, our pets do too. Have a comfortable, sheltered area where he can retreat for a little bit. If you don’t have something like that, then bringing him inside for a break or nap will also help avoid sunburns.

5: Keep the pests away – Summer is high time for parasites. Don’t forget to apply flea and tick medication to protect your pet. Heartworm medication is also needed during the warm weather months. Talk to your vet about what brands, dosage, and frequency is best for your pet. Don’t ever use bug repellants made for people and be very cautious about ones you can buy in a store as some may have ingredients that are too strong or harmful for your pet. Your vet will have the most knowledge about preventatives for your pet.

Summer can be tough on pets but also a lot of fun. As long as we are careful and mindful of our pets’ limitations then everyone can have an awesome summer. Remember, early morning and late evening walks can be great for you too, keeps you from getting sunburned too!

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