With spring taking a seat and summer on its feet, we need to make sure our pets avoid the perils of the heat. From traveling, to the piercing noise of fireworks, these summer experiences may pose a threat to your pet pal.
Beautiful weather and traveling go hand-in-hand, but may not go paw-in-hand. According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s Pet Owner Survey, more than two-thirds of pet owners will travel with their pets this year. “The first thing you will need to determine is whether your furry friend likes to travel,” said Nancy Peterson, HSUS specialist for companion animals. “Does he or she enjoy being in the car and seeing new people and places? If these stress your pet, it may be kinder to leave him in the care of a boarding kennel or professional.”
When traveling by car, always be sure to properly secure your pet with a safety harness or carrier. Also, check to make certain your pet is unable to stick their head out of the window if the car is in motion, as debris and other objects might inflict harm upon your companion.
Remember, leaving your pet in the car for a few minutes may seem harmless, but it’s extremely dangerous. Even with a window partially open, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 120 degrees in minutes. When the temperature rises, pets use panting as means of dissipating the heat, however, they can’t cope with quickly rising temperatures. The result is often fatal.
If your pet has thick fur and is frequently outdoors, think twice before shaving your furry friend entirely for the summer. Like people, animals are susceptible to sunburn. Taking the hair off completely will expose your pet’s skin to the sun, which may have painful results. Therefore, a wise alternative is a haircut that thins out thicker hair to reduce chances of irritation and exhaustion, but leaves locks long enough to offer protection from the sun.
For pets that are kept outdoors, shade and fresh water are necessities. If you live in a warm climate, hosing your dog down before you go to work or at lunch will provide extra cooling for your pet during the summer. In the event that your pet has been exposed to high temperatures, keep an eye out for signs such as increased heart rate, heavy panting, glazed eyes, instability, vomiting and a dark red or purple tongue.
Fireworks displays are another cause of increased stress for pets. Although some are able to withstand the commotion, others are terrified by the loud noises of the Fourth of July festivities. They may shake, tremble, drool excessively, howl, try to hide, refuse to eat and even lose bladder or bowel control. For your pet’s sake, make sure they are well distanced from the festivities. If this is not possible, consult your veterinarian in advance for ways of alleviating your pet’s anxiety.
Before dipping your paws into summer, make sure you’re aware of the hazards. By taking these simple extra precautions, you and your pet can have some stress free fun in the sun.