Summer is a wonderful time of year. The trees are green, skies are blue, and there’s nothing better than a summer stroll with your faithful friend at your side. Pets and people both love summer, and the warmer weather means more outdoor play and activities. While this season is a great time for both us and our pets, there are some precautions we need to take to make sure our furry family members stay safe in the warmth.
There’s no sugarcoating it; heat is a killer for pets. Heatstroke is a major cause of death for dogs, particularly since they generally spend more time outside than other pets. When you take your pets out of the house for summer, it’s very important to provide them with everything they need to stay safe and cool. Always have a spot they can go to that is shaded and has good ventilation. Even if your pet doesn’t want to go there, make sure to take them if you see that they need it. If your animal is kept in a cage then keep that cage in a shady spot. If it’s really hot outside, caged animals like rabbits and hamsters should simply be left indoors.
You should also always be prepared with plenty of water. Even if you’re going for a long walk, make sure to bring a bowl and a thermos in a backpack. That way you can stop and refresh your pet at any time. If they look tired or are panting more than usual, get your pet to shade and give them some water immediately.
Everyone has heard of how dangerous cars can be, and pets are not immune from this danger. Never leave your pet alone in a car, even with the windows rolled down. Cars can heat up extremely fast, and every year pets die from being left in hot cars. If you have to choose between leaving your pet in a hot car or not making a quick stop at a store, choose the latter. It’s simply not worth taking the chance.
With all the walks and fun in the sun, there’s a good chance that your pet will come across some plant life that it wouldn’t have done in winter. Certain plants can cause maladies for your animal, from nausea to organ failure and sometimes even death. Try to keep your pet away from any strange plants that you don’t know for certain are safe. Examples of plants to avoid include lilies, azaleas, and tulips. The AEC has some good information on toxic plants for dogs, so be sure to check this out.
Food is another thing that your pet may have more access to during the summer. People love to spend the summer having picnics or stopping by hotdog and ice cream stands. A lot of this food can also be very dangerous to your pet, however. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which can cause seizures and illness in dogs. They may also get into trouble sniffing around mouldy food that may be overflowing from rubbish bins. Onions are especially toxic to cats and dogs, so be careful around those sausage sizzles. Make sure if you’re out in public that your pet is on a leash, harness, or in a crate that can keep them safe.
Everyone loves New Year’s Eve, right? Well, your pet might not! Loud noises can cause a lot of stress for animals, and fireworks tend to cause a lot of noise. If you have an anxious pet, make sure you take the necessary precautions to alleviate stress if you know fireworks will be going off near your home. If you have a dog, make sure to exercise, walk, and feed them before the event. A tired dog will be more relaxed. Before the noise starts, pet him and make him feel safe. It’s a lot easier to prevent stress than to stop stress once it starts. The same can be said for cats. It’s important for pet owners to act as calmly as possible. Pets can sense when their owners are stressed. If you have a party to attend, then do your best to have someone come and babysit your pets and keep them calm and safe.
For more information check out our tips to help relieve stress.
There’s always the possibility of a mishap happening to your pet – for example, if they escape the yard, who knows what trouble they might get into? Make sure to have your pet microchipped so as to make it easier to find them should they get lost, and ensure that they are wearing a collar with a tag so you can be contacted if they are found out and about.
It’s also a great idea to create an emergency kit for your pets. This kit could include their vaccination records, registration records, some food and water, poop bags, any medications, toys, pictures of your pet (in water safe packaging), and contact details for your vet. This way, when you’re out and about you’ll always have the essentials on hand to help your pet. If there is an emergency such as a bushfire, you (or others) will also have the best information and supplies to get your pet to a safe place.
Summer is the best time to enjoy the outdoors and get your pets the fresh air and exercise they may not get during other seasons. Make sure the summer is as great as it can be by keeping your pets safe and happy.