Rising summertime temperatures and blue skies are as freeing for Scooter and Spot as they are for you and me. However, while summer beckons pets and people alike to get out there and play, this freewheeling season also poses its own risks for four-footed adventurers. Fortunately, forewarned is always forearmed.
Here are some of our safety tips for the pet who is ready to take on the world this summer, but has that twinge of thunderphobia and a certain attraction for fleas and ticks.
1. Make sure your pet is microchipped
Summer invites free-roaming playtime for Fido, which unfortunately exacerbates the likelihood that he could stray too far from home while chasing that runaway kite. Microchipping acts as a high-tech form of insurance that your four-legged family member can be safely reunited should you become separated. Not all microchip scanners read all microchips, however. So before having the chip implanted, be sure to check with your local animal shelters to ensure that the type of microchip your vet is implanting is compatible with their scanners.
2. Be protective poolside
Don’t assume that your dog will take like a duck to water. Not all pooches are natural swimmers, so keep close watch over your dog as he’s lounging by the pool or lakeside. Pool water is also a far from nourishing way to relieve your pet’s thirst, as it contains chlorine and other chemicals that can cause stomach upset––be sure to keep plenty of fresh drinkable water nearby.
3. Heat Protection
The danger of heat without sufficient relief to your pet is a real one. A dog, for instance, can withstand an elevated body temperature for only a brief time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage, or even death.
Possibly nowhere are dogs so endangered by the heat as when trapped inside a car. A study by Stanford University found that even on a mild 72-degree (Fahrenheit) day, the internal temperature of a car can skyrocket to a suffocating 116 degrees within an hour, even with windows cracked for ventilation. On an 85-degree day, a mere 10 minutes is necessary for the temperature inside a car to soar to 102 degrees, and 30 minutes for the thermometer to hit 120 degrees. The website MyDogIsCool.com allows you to type in your zip code to find out if it’s too hot in your area to take Rover on the road with you.
Even when your dog is comfortably placed outside the car, the heat can still catch up with the most energetic of pooches. So give your pet extra water when temps are topping 80 degrees and make sure Fido has a place of respite in the shade at all times when out and about.
And when you’re pounding the sun-baked pavement in your sandals, don’t neglect your dog’s tender, heat-sensitive paws, which can burn easily on hot asphalt and concrete. You may consider buying protective canine shoes if you can’t confine your pooch’s playful footsteps to the cooler grass.
Pets are also susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so keep any workouts to the cooler early morning and evening hours on days that get your sweat on before you even get going. Signs of heat stress include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heart rate, unsteadiness, vomiting, and a deep red or purple tongue.
And remember that pets can sunburn too. Sun-sensitive doggie noses and ear tips warrant pet-friendly sunscreen protection. Felines fond of windowsill perches can also benefit from sunscreen on their ear tips.