During the summer, we spend time relaxing with our friends and family, which includes our four-legged family members! As the summer heat rises, it is important to know that temperatures impact our pets differently. In particular, the northeastern heat waves may hit our cats and dogs differently as they adjust to rising temps. Fortunately, there are some simple summer pet safety solutions that help all of us enjoy the summer sun!
Backyard Pet Safety in the Summer
The family cookout is a summer staple.
As friends and family gather in the backyard, kick off their shoes and relax, remember that our pets (mainly dogs) like to stare at the newbies looking for some extra treats! Petfinder provides a neat infographic to provide some pet safety tips during your next cookout.
However, cookouts are just one summer staple. For many homeowners, gardening is another summer hobby.
Pets can create some damage to your garden and themselves, so here are a few ways to pet-proof your yard!
- Build a Fenced-In Area
If you are going to leave your pet outside for longer periods of time, make sure it stays in this protected area. The area should include some toys, shade and water, and also acts to keep your dog from getting into your garden.
- Ensure Pets Have Sufficient Water Outside
Often dogs resort to digging because it is dehydrated or overheated, and it is trying to get cool. By making sure there is always water available, this will prevent your pup from being tempted to dig up the garden.
- Use Nature to Keep Pets Out of the Garden
Certain plants can enhance a garden, but also repel cats from the vicinity. For example, rosemary is one plant with a scent that cats particularly dislike. Plant this around the edge of the garden and your favorite feline will stay far away! Also, consider sprinkling red pepper flakes around the perimeter because cats do not like the smell or taste.
Common Sense Summer Pet Safety
In general, there are some common sense things that all pet owners should know during the summer. To ensure pet safety, then here are some essentials.
- No Pets in Parked Cars
As the pet experts at the Human Society explain:
“Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.”
For more, review and share this hot car flyer!
- Humidity Matters
As Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association notes:
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog’s temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke.
- Keep Paws Cool
Dogs sweat through their paws. Take this into consideration when going on walks (even in cooler hours) and attempt to keep pets off of hot asphalt. Not only can the temperatures burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating.
- Provide Plenty of Water & Shade
Always be on the lookout for the telltale signs of dehydration in pets, which include dry gums, loss of skin elasticity, excessive drooling.
To avoid dehydration, give pets plenty of playtime breaks in the shade with access to fresh water.
- Be Mindful of Exercise
On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. For example, take walks during the cooler hours of the day.
Preventative Pet Safety Measures
Like our homes, there are also preventative measures to take to ensure pet safety. For example, excessive time outside can cause heatstroke.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Signs of heatstroke include:
- heavy panting
- glazed eyes
- rapid heartbeat
- difficulty breathing
- excessive thirst
- lack of coordination
- profuse salivation
- deep red or purple tongue
To help, ensure that pets have ample shade or access to air-conditioned areas of your home. Also apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Plus, let pets drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
If signs persist, take your pet directly to a veterinarian.
- Sunscreen Saves
Believe it or not, dogs can sunburn, especially those with short or light-colored coats.
If your pet spends a lot of time outside, then talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog (don’t assume a sunscreen for people is appropriate for your dog).
- Pet Friendly Insect Repellents
Another simple pet safety precaution is finding the right kind of insect repellent. Insects are annoying and irritating to us, and the same goes for our pets. Standard insect repellent may not be suitable for our pets, so find a pet-friendly product.
- Beware of Parasites
In the summer, hookworms and heartworms are more prevalent and infect pets through their feet. Take precaution and ask your vet for prescriptions to ensure your pet remains safe this summer.
We hope everyone has a happy and healthy summer.
After all, summer is a time to enjoy our friends and family, which obviously includes our four-legged favorites. Fortunately, with some common sense, there are simple summer pet safety solutions that will keep everyone healthy!
At SolvIt, we take pride in our work to help homeowners take care of their homes. We hope to take some stress off you, so you can enjoy your homes, families and yes, pets!
If you have any home issues that are preventing pet safety, then let us know. We are here 24/7 to keep those ACs running all summer long!