High temperatures and more time outdoors can lead to additional health concerns for pets. To keep ahead of the game, read our top tips for pet safety in summer months. As always, if your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, call us at 303.660.1027 or bring your pet into our emergency vet hospital, open 24/7/365. Also, you may be interested in learning about caring for cats and dogs in the summer and situations requiring an emergency vet visit.
Counting down our top 10 tips for pet safety in summer:
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 summer 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. Also, check that your chip tracking service, as well as any collar ID tags, have your current contact information.
9. Update Vaccinations and Medications
You can prevent some common summer pet ailments simply by keeping vaccinations and medications current. Pests like ticks and mosquitos are pesky almost everywhere every summer, and they love to bite our pets. Administer a veterinarian-recommended prevention to protect against heartworms passed by mosquitos. 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
Create a pet first aid kit to use in minor emergencies or to help your pet as you seek professional care. Knowing basic pet first aid can help you feel more confident in an emergency and can help to save your pet’s life. 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. If you’re unsure, never hesitate to bring your pet to our hospital or to another clinic for an emergency visit should a pet health emergency happen.
7. Protect Those Paws
When the summer sun bakes our streets and sidewalks, it is probably too hot for your dog’s paws. And if it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s likely too hot for a dog or cat, too. Darker colored pavement and asphalt get even hotter in the sun and can burn sensitive pet paw pads. Test the surface that you’ll be walking on. When temps are high, try to limit walks to grassy areas. Get that important exercise time together with your furry friend when it’s early or later in the evening. If your pet’s paws get burned or bloody, soak them in cool water, and seek veterinary care as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection or other complications.
In addition, be cautious of allowing your pet to walk in areas where pesticides or fertilizers may have been used. These can cause skin irritation or can be hazardous when pets lick their paws. If in doubt, wipe off or rinse your pet’s paws when you return from your walk.
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.
- Bring water for your dog.
- When you arrive at the park, watch those who are already there. Does their behavior and style of playing with other dogs seem safe? If you notice aggression or other concerning behaviors, consider an alternative location.
- Always abide by posted rules and common sense.
- Keep an eye on your pet and promptly pick up after them.
- Make sure vaccines are current in case your pet is bitten by another dog.
5. Don’t Leave Pets in the Car Alone
Many pets, especially dogs, love a ride in the car. Although it may seem fine to leave pets alone in the car for a quick errand, we recommend that you never do this. 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 your pet has been overcome with heat, quickly move your pet to a cool location and give them small sips of water or ice chips. Call our emergency vet hospital at 303.660.1027 or bring them in right away.
4. Road Trips with Pets
Pets are part of the family, so bringing them on vacation can be a fun experience for everyone as long as you follow certain precautions. First, make sure your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date. Then, be sure to pack any medications taken by your pet, and bring along your pet’s important medical information. When traveling by car, your dog should be attached to a dog-safe seat belt or should ride in a secured crate inside your air-conditioned vehicle. Make sure a crate is well ventilated, and you can use a cooling pad as a crate liner. Also, don’t forget to bring fresh water and a bowl. In addition, it’s a good idea to have the number of a local vet in case of an emergency.
3. Water Safety
Many dogs love to swim in natural bodies of water during summer outings, trips, or from the side of your boat. However, 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.
First, go slowly when you introduce your dog to swimming. Limit your time for fetching balls or sticks from a body of water which can lead to heath complications due to water inhalation. Currents and waves can come up suddenly, so watch closely, and always supervise your dog when swimming. If your dog is in distress, help them immediately. You can also outfit your pup with an appropriate pet life jacket. Be sure your pet can get out of a pool or other body of water without becoming exhausted. Fence any areas at home where a pet could fall in and drown. Lastly, learn the basics of dog CPR in case of emergency, and consult a vet immediately if your pet 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. Snake bites can be very serious. First off, bring your pet into the ER or contact your family vet for evaluation. 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. Number One in Our Tips for Pet Safety in Summer: 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 your pet 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 or offer ice chips. Seek animal emergency care by calling us right away at 303.660.1027 or bringing your pet into our 24-hour pet hospital immediately as time is of the essence. Read up on other situations that require emergency vet care in the summer.
Have Fun and Keep in Mind Our 10 Tips for Pet Safety in Summer Months
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.