Summer is a wonderful time to be a pet owner. It's the season for vacations, road trips, playtime at the park, swimming, and more! While you soak up all the sunshine and quality time with your furry friends, you still need to stay vigilant against the hazards, some obvious and some not so much, that can jeopardize your pet's health and well-being.
When your pet's body temperature rises too far above normal, the chances of heatstroke increase. This can happen as a result of intense exercise, dehydration, obesity, being outside too long, or being left in a hot car. Long-haired and short-nosed breeds struggle to cool themselves down more than others, so you'll need to be especially careful if your pet fits that mold. If you notice your pet feels warm, looks lethargic, or is drooling excessively, vomiting, or staggering, it may be an emergency that needs veterinary attention.
Your pets are essentially walking around barefoot, unless you somehow got lucky with a one that tolerates booties or socks. Even if you think it feels like the perfect day for a walk, it may not be safe for your dog. A dog's paw can burn in about a minute if it comes into contact with pavement that is 125 degrees. Because pavement can be significantly hotter than the outside temperature, you'll need to keep in mind that even an 80-degree day can scorch your pet's paws.
Dangerous animals like bears, cougars, snakes, wolves, and coyotes may roam in the wild or even in neighborhoods. More docile animals like deer, rabbits, squirrels, and birds can still be dangerous to your pet because they distract your pet from other dangers like cars, holes, or sharp debris. Keep your pet on a leash unless they're in a sanctioned off-leash area, and look for signs that warn of potential wildlife in the area.
Fleas and ticks
Fleas thrive in 65 to 80 degrees and humid climates, and they can live for as long as a year. Ticks are most common in grassy areas in the spring and summer. You spend more time outside with your pet during those seasons, increasing the exposure to these parasites on hikes and when spending time with other animals.
Pets can get sunburns and skin cancer, just like humans. In fact, light-haired and short-haired breeds are more susceptible to sun damage, which is also similar to humans. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day, so try to enjoy it in the mornings or evenings. You might even catch a wonderful sunrise or sunset that will look great on your pet's social media account. Look into pet sunscreen as well, especially if your pet is one of the breeds most in danger of getting sunburns.
Blooming plants and fertilizer
Animals love to ingest things they aren't meant to eat. That includes plants and fertilizers in the fields where they play. While there are health risks associated with artificial turf as well, you may feel more comfortable going to parks with fake grass or dirt instead of natural grass. Fertilizers often contain harmful chemicals that could poison your pet, and unless you're a botanist, it can be difficult to determine which plants are safe for your pet and which ones are toxic. It's best to avoid them all and teach your pet a command that will keep them away from things that pique their curiosity.
Human food and trash
Eating meals or enjoying a drink outside is a lot more common during the summer months. As a pet owner, watch the ground when you have guests over for a backyard BBQ or you're taking your pet to restaurants. Wrappers, bottle caps, and food scraps can be toxic to pets or cause blockages in their digestive tracts.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.