Summer Safety

The sun is out, the weather is perfect, and everyone is excited to get out and play! Before we all get out and catch some rays, there are a few things to be mindful of.

Summertime means special care for our pets. Excessive high temperatures and humidity, parked cars, jogging, beaches, swimming pools and "the wind in your face" can be hazardous to your pet's health. Here are a few tips to help make sure your pet is safe during the hot "dog days" of summer:
Leave your pets at home
Don't let that eager look as you pull out the keys cloud your judgment. Even if you park in the shade and there's a nice breeze blowing outside, the temperature inside a car can shoot up to dangerous levels within minutes (120 degrees or higher!) even with the windows down. Unlike humans, pets cannot perspire to cool themselves. The movement of air into and out of the lungs allows them to maintain their normal body temperature. Panting and salivation are outward signs that your pet is overheating. When humidity and temperature exceed the point at which these cooling mechanisms can maintain body temperature, heat stroke results – and that can mean permanent brain damage or even death to your pet. So don't take chances with your pet's life – leave him at home!! 

Dogs and cats need to have a cool place to stay when the summer temperatures soar, either inside or out. When it's really hot, the shade from a tree will not keep your pet cool enough. He needs a doghouse or other shelter to protect from the heat. Dogs and cats can get sunburned just like people. Their ears and noses, which are not protected by thick fur, are especially susceptible. 

Make sure your pet always has access to cool, clean water, especially in the summer heat. Refill overturned bowls and freshen water, but never give your pet ice water, which can shock the system and cause severe stomach upsets. 

Beach and Pool
If you take your pet to the beach, be sure to provide ample shade, as well, and hose him down after he has been in the salt water. Protect your pet's feet from the hot sand or pavement. Dogs' and cats' foot pads are very sensitive to heat and can easily blister.
While many pets love to swim, chlorinated water irritates your pet's eyes, and heat and sunlight around a pool are intense. Never leave your pet unattended around a pool. Once in, a dog cannot get out without help and may soon panic and drown. 

Ticks and Fleas
Carefully go over your pet's body at least once a week to check for fleas, ear mites and tiny bumps or cuts. Bring your pet to the vet for a spring/summer checkup and use a good flea and tick repellent that your veterinarian recommends. This can come in the form of a dietary supplement or a powder or spray.
Hair is a natural insulator, whether it is warm or cool. In the summer, an animal's coat insulates against sun, heat and insect bites. Regular brushing removes dirt and loose undercoat, which cleans and cools your pet. When you brush, check around the ears, between toes, along the legs, at the lower abdomen and base of tail.