For many, summertime means sunscreen, beach trips, popsicles, family vacations, water activities and time spent outdoors enjoying the warm weather.
However, just as you take precautions to avoid overheating and excess sun exposure when heading outdoors, it’s also important to remember to protect your four-legged friends. Here are five tips to make sure your furry companion stays safe this summer.
1. AVOID FIREWORKS AROUND PETS
Fireworks can cause a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety for pets, as the booming sound can trigger a fight-or-flight response. Many pets escape and are reported lost around holidays such as the Fourth of July for this reason. Additionally, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma.
Leave your pets secure at home if you’re heading out to a fireworks display. If possible, confine them to the most soundproof room and ensure all windows are closed.
2. DO NOT SHAVE YOUR DOG
Many people think shaving their dog’s coats will help keep them cooler, but all that fur has a purpose. According to the ASPCA, the layers of a dog’s coat actually helps protect them from overheating and sunburn. Pet owners can trim longer hair, but shaving is never recommended.
3. STAY UP TO DATE ON HEARTWORM AND FLEA TREATMENTS
Florida’s warm and humid environment makes it conducive for mosquitoes and fleas to thrive.
“(Because) mosquitoes spread heartworms, one mosquito bite is all it takes to infect a dog with this potentially fatal disease,” said Dr. Peiman Milani, owner and veterinarian at Windercare Animal Clinic. “Missing just one dose of heartworm prevention can open the door to your dog being infected.”
Fleas are also a concern, because they can cause an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. Signs of fleas include rash, redness and scratching or biting the hind legs, tail or abdomen.
4. KNOW THE SYMPTOMS OF OVERHEATING
Signs of heat stroke in cats include rapid pulse and breathing, red tongue, vomiting, lethargy and stumbling. For dogs, the signs include excessive drooling, rapid heartbeat, red gums and producing little to no urine.
To avoid overheating, stay indoors on hot days. When taking your dog out, keep walks short. Additionally, ensure your pet always has access to fresh water.
5. PAW PROTECTION
When it’s hot out, there’s always a risk of your pet’s paws getting burned on pavement. In fact, even when it’s just 77 degrees out, the asphalt temperature may reach 125 degrees.
To check whether the pavement is too hot for your dog’s paws, do the seven-second test. Touch the pavement with the back of your hand for seven seconds. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there for seven seconds, it’s also too hot for your pet’s paws.
If the pavement is too hot, try walking your dog on grass or at times when the ground is cooler, such as early in the morning or late in the evening.