Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
Hot and Smoky: Summer Pet Safety Tips You Can Count On
We think of summer as the season to enjoy the great outdoors, but due to wildfires here in Washington and British Columbia, many plans have been dashed. Snohomish County has recently qualified our air as “unhealthy.” This certainly affects all of us, and pets are no exception. Indeed, many animals are even more vulnerable to the smoke. Beyond limiting exercise and outdoor play, what are some other tips for summer pet safety we can all get on board with?
Taking a Toll
The heat is obviously the biggest hazard during the summer months. Cats and dogs don’t regulate their body temperatures like we do, so they’re at risk of heat-related emergencies. Limiting sun and heat exposure, preventing dehydration, and keeping your pet cool and comfortable are key to summer pet safety.
- Provide fresh, cool water and replenish bowls around the house and yard throughout the day.
- Ensure there’s plenty of shade for your pet while outdoors.
- Plan to exercise only during the cool hours of early morning or evening.
- Keep fans and AC units running throughout the day.
- Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for your pet. The skin on paw pads is very delicate and shouldn’t be overexposed to hot concrete, asphalt, rocks, or sand.
It’s the Law
Washington State Law makes it illegal to leave an animal in a parked vehicle. Even if a car is parked in the shade with the windows cracked, temperatures can quickly soar into the triple digits. Sadly, this is the leading cause of heat-related deaths among pets.
Other Summer Pet Safety Tips
Swimming and splashing around are great ways to cool down, but they aren’t without their own set of risks. Keep your pet safe with the following:
- Close supervision
- A pet life jacket
- Prohibit drinking from pools, lakes, streams, or rivers (always bring your own supply of fresh water)
- Monitor the weather
- Know signs of exhaustion, don’t allow your pet to overexert him or herself
Gardening is a common summer pastime, but be careful to avoid certain poisonous plants, such as azaleas, lilies, and oleander. Plus, many fertilizers, cocoa mulches, tulips, tomato plants, rhubarb, onions, garlic, herbicides, rodenticides, and slug and snail bait are all considered toxic to pets.
Your socialized pet may enjoy hosting or attending BBQ’s with you, but be sure he or she stays away from the food.
- Exercise beforehand.
- Bring your own pet food or snacks.
- Do not allow sneaky visits to the grill, trash bin, or table of discarded plates.
- Alcoholic drinks can be very dangerous for pets.
Into the Groove
Our veterinarians and staff know that it’s easy to get into a summer groove, but knowing the signs of heatstroke is key to summer pet safety. Please watch out for the following signs:
- Excessive panting
- Dry, dark red gums
- Extreme lethargy
- Collapse or loss of consciousness
- Rectal temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit
Enjoy the weather, and above all, stay safe!