We are counting down the ways that you can have safe fun this summer with your pets. As always, if your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, call us at 303.660.1027 or bring them into our emergency vet hospital, open 24/7/365. You may also be interested in learning about caring for cats and dogs in the summer and situations requiring an emergency vet visit.
Here is our countdown of the top 10 tips for a safe summer with your pets:
10. Keep Chips and Tags Up to Date
As you get outside for walks, go in and out of the house and car, travel, and just have a regular day of fun with your pets, keep them safe with chips – the tracking kind. Ensure that pets have a veterinary microchip implanted that can be traced back to you should they become lost. Check that your chip tracking service has your current contact information, too. And that collar ID tag that you had made years ago? Confirm it has your phone number or veterinarian’s contact information to help with a faster return of a lost pet.
9. Update Vaccinations and Medications
You can prevent some common summer pet ailments simply by keeping vaccinations and medications up to date. Pests like ticks and mosquitos are pesky almost everywhere every summer, and they love to bite our pets. Prevent the transmission of deadly heartworms that can be passed between pets from mosquito bites by administering a veterinarian-recommended heartworm prevention therapy that will protect your pet throughout the year. Be sure that flea treatment and rabies vaccines are current, and that any other important pet medications are filled and stored properly this summer.
8. Brush Up on Your Basic First Aid
To be sure that your pet is safe during the summer and every day, it’s good to have some basic first aid knowledge in case of minor emergencies. Knowing what to do if something happens to your pet can help save their life as you bring them to the vet. We like the Cat and Dog First Aid Online Training from the American Red Cross. For a $25 fee, you’ll learn the basics of providing first aid care for your pet and how to give care in case of emergency. Please do not hesitate to bring your pet in for an emergency visit with us should a pet health emergency happen.
7. Don’t Leave Pets in the Car Alone
Many pets, especially dogs, love a ride in the car. And almost everyone has been in a situation where it seems fine to leave pets alone in the car to do a quick errand. Our strong advice is don’t do it. Even leaving windows cracked or parking in the shade is not enough. Just a few minutes in a hot car can cause pets to become overheated, leading to heatstroke or even death. Don’t risk your furry family member’s health. Bring your pup or kitty home before doing those errands. If you suspect that your pet has been overcome with heat, please move them to a cool location quickly give them small sips of water and call our emergency vet hospital at 303.660.1027 or bring them in right away.
6. Be Safe at the Dog Park
Many pups love to play with their canine peers. A visit to the dog park can be good for exercise and socialization. Just be sure to prepare yourself and your pet for the outing. Here are some tips:
- Only bring dogs who are spayed or neutered to a dog park.
- Make sure that your dog has proper identification on their collar and that their ID chip is current in case an unintentional escape happens.
- BYOW – bring your own water.
- When you arrive at the park, watch those who are already there. Does their behavior and style of playing with other dogs seem safe? Take note of aggression and consider passing on the dog park today in exchange for some one-on-one time with your dog elsewhere.
- If you do enter the dog park, abide by posted rules and common sense.
- Keep an eye on your pet and promptly pick up after them.
- Also, make sure that your dog’s vaccines are current in case they are bitten by or bite another dog.
- If an accident happens and there is a pet medical emergency, call Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies at 303.660.1027 or bring your dog to our 24 hour vet hospital in Castle Rock.
- Looking for a great dog park near Castle Rock? Yelp can help, and the Douglas County Open Space site has a leashed dog park (where people tend to ignore leash rules, so be aware), and search Google for Castle Rock Dog Parks to find the Douglas County Off-leash area. Wiggly Field gets great reviews, too.
5. Protect Those Paws
When the summer sun bakes our streets and sidewalks, it is probably too hot for your dog’s paws. Darker colored pavement and asphalt get even hotter in the sun and can burn sensitive pet paw pads. Get that important exercise time together with your furry friend when it’s early or later in the evening after the sun goes down and test the surface that you’ll be walking on. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s likely too hot for a dog or cat to be walking on it, too. If you must venture out when it’s hot, try to limit walks to grassy areas. If your pet’s paws get burned or bloody, soak in cool water and see us or your family veterinarian as soon as possible so that infection or other complications do not follow.
4. Fireworks and Pets
Most peopleenjoy the American Independence Day 4th of July celebrations that happen each summer. However, formal fireworks displays or lighting off firecrackers in your yard can scare pets. Always keep pets safely away from fireworks. Their ears are more sensitive to loud noises, and the lights and strange smells that go along with fireworks are confusing and can be frightening to pets. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July and on the holiday, when people are setting off fireworks and firecrackers, we recommend leaving your pets safely inside your home. Consider putting them in a cool room indoors where they will feel safer, with a TV or radio on low to distract them from the noise outside. If it is not possible or safe to leave pets at home, always leash and keep your pets with you, under your control. Ensure that they have current chips and ID tags in case they get loose. If your pet does get loose, contact local animal control immediately, contact your pet’s chip tracking service, and keep searching the area until you find them. The Humane Society has additional tips if your pet gets loose.
3. Water Safety
Dogs may love to swim in natural bodies of water during regular summer outings, trips, or from the side of your boat. It might seem extreme but outfit your pup in the appropriate pet life jacket and always supervise their swimming. Not all dogs take to swimming naturally, which surprises many people. Certain breeds of dogs even struggle with swimming and breathing, like bulldogs and pugs. Go slowly when you introduce your dog to swimming. If your dog is in distress, help them immediately. Currents and waves can come up suddenly so watch them closely. Limit your time of throwing balls or sticks into a body of water for your dog to fetch as it can lead to inhaling water, which can lead to heath complications and death in dogs. Be sure that your pet can get out of a pool or other body of water without becoming exhausted and fence those areas at home where a pet could fall in and drown. Learn the basics of dog CPR in case of emergency and bring your dog to our Castle Rock vet hospital immediately if it is:
- Lethargic or unresponsive
- Having difficulty breathing
- In distress
2. Advice for Snake Bites
It can be a lot of fun to get exercise outdoors with our pets – especially hiking with dogs. Be aware of your surroundings in the wild, and if your pet is bitten by a snake, remain calm and follow our advice in our special post on how to treat a snake bite on a dog.
1. Our Number One Tip: Stay Cool and Hydrated
Keeping your pet cool in the summer is the most important advice we can give. Give your pet plenty of cool water, and never leave them alone in a car, even in the shade with the windows cracked. Heatstroke is as bad as it sounds: it can kill a dog in minutes. Watch for signs that your pet has heatstroke, including:
- Excessive panting
- Increased heart rate
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Bright red gums
- High temperature (over 104° F)
- Collapse, seizure, coma
If you suspect heatstroke, get your dog out of the heat and begin gently cooling them immediately. Allow him or her to take small sips of cool water. Seek animal emergency care by calling us right away at 303.660.1027 or bringing your pet into our 24 hour pet hospital. Read up on the other situations that require emergency vet care in the summer.
Enjoy Summer Fun with Your Pets and Stay Safe
Summer is a great time to enjoy the best that Colorado has to offer, and it’s a great season for spending healthy time with our pets. We hope that you have fun in the sun and stay safe with our top 10 tips.
If your pet is in distress or experiencing what may be a health emergency, we are open every day of the year, 24 hours a day to help. Call us with questions at 303.660.1027.