5 Ways to Keep Animals Safe This Summer

Summer is coming — and with it hot days, lounging by the pool and enjoying the great outdoors. But there are some unique dangers in the summer for pets and wildlife that you should keep in mind to make sure the season stays safe and fun for everyone. I’ve rounded up some safety tips from animal welfare groups that should get you on the path to a safer summer for your pets and other animals in your life.

1. Beat the Heat

Summer heat can get extreme, and climate change can make it worse. Most pet guardians know leaving animals in the car for ANY amount of time is dangerous, even on a seemingly cool or cloudy day. If you spot an animal in a car, take action immediately. And if you’re curious about the legal limits on bystander interventions, we maintain a regularly updated list.

Remember that sand, sidewalks and streets can get painfully hot. If the ground feels hot to the touch, your pupper could benefit from some booties for paw protection. If your cats go outside (there are a lot of great reasons to keep them inside), make sure they have access to shade and water in case it starts getting dangerously hot.

Signs of heatstroke in pets and wildlife can include lethargy, panting, drooling, dry/pale gums and tongue, seizures and temperatures over 106 degrees Fahrenheit in dogs and 105 degrees in cats. Pets with heat stroke should go to the vet. But in the short term, try to cool them down with fans, spraying them with cool (not cold or iced) water or soaking towels and wrapping them. Provide cool water, so the animal can drink freely.

2. Share the Road

Being out in nature means you’re more likely to encounter wildlife. Dog guardians should be especially careful of venomous snakes if they’re in an area where they’re endemic. Wear long pants and high boots, stay on the trail and keep your dog leashed. If someone of any species gets bitten, seek emergency care immediately.

Heat can make wildlife less active during the day, but at night it’s a different story. If you’re out and about at night, watch out for mountain lions, bears, raccoons and other critters going about their business. Consider keeping your dogs leashed or fenced to protect them from threats that may be hard to spot at night, and definitely keep cats inside.

You should also know that your grass can become a cozy spot for small animals. Before you mow the lawn, it’s a good idea to do a walk-through to encourage a temporary relocation. Be sure to wear high boots in case you startle snakes!

3. Close the Buffet

Feeding wildlife is never a good idea, and that holds true in the summer months, as well. In addition, make sure your garbage is secured against visitors. And when you’re out and about, bring a bag to pick up litter. Litter is unsightly, but it can also attract wildlife, who may hurt themselves with it.

If you have bird baths, a pond or other water features, be aware they can attract mammals, so think about placement carefully. Also, consider installing a circulator, so you don’t have standing water, which can be a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. There’s also conflicting information on whether providing water for wildlife is advisable, so check with local wildlife authorities to get their opinion on whether it is a good idea in your area.

4. An Attractive Nuisance

If you have a pool, wildlife may be especially interested in it during the summer months. Some animals love swimming to stay cool, and others may try to drink out of it. But the sides of the pool may turn getting out into a dangerous challenge. Keep your pool fenced and covered when not in use — something that may already be required, depending on where you are.

Be aware that cool, dark places can also become very enticing in extreme heat, so watch out for wildlife when you leave sheds and garages open, walk close to thick shrubs and move objects that wildlife may be sheltering in or under.

5. Calling the Professionals

If you see sick or injured wildlife, call a local wildlife hotline immediately. Experts can advise you on the best steps to take — which might include leaving it alone, staying there until someone can collect the animal or carefully gathering it up and bringing it to a clinic.

Even if an animal looks lethargic, it still may bite or scratch. This can expose both of you to diseases or serious injury (and potentially euthanasia for the animal, depending on local policies about animal bites). So proceed with caution.

Photo credit: Capuski/Getty Images

51 comments

Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley21 days ago

Thank you.

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Daniel N
John N24 days ago

thanks very much

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Martha P
Maria P25 days ago

Thank you

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Ingrid A
Isabel A25 days ago

thank you

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Anna R
Anna R27 days ago

thanks for posting

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Leo C
Leo C27 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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beba h
beba h28 days ago

Lucky to have a wildlife rehab and sanctuary where I live. They help so many animals.

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Leo Custer
Leo C28 days ago

Thank you for posting!

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Michael F

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Chris C
Chris C29 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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