Summertime is full of exciting and enjoyable events, such as cookouts and fireworks displays, and lazy days spent soaking up the sun’s rays. While you naturally want to include your furry pal in everything you do, you must take proper precautions to keep them safe from common summer pet hazards. 

Protect your pet from the heat

Most importantly, your pet needs protection each summer from overheating. High temperatures paired with excessive humidity can spell disaster for any pet, but especially for flat-faced, thick-coated, or obese pets, or pets with heart or breathing issues. Keep your fur-coat-wearing pal safe from overheating by following these summertime safety tips:

  • Exercise — Avoid exercising and playing outdoors with your pet in the heat of the day, and stick to early morning or late evening for any activities.
  • Pavement — Stay off scorching-hot pavement or asphalt, and walk your pet on grass or dirt paths, to prevent them from burning their paw pads. 
  • Water — Always provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pet, and ensure they have adequate shade and ventilation when outdoors.
  • Vehicles — Leave your furry pal at home when running errands. Pets can easily bump the air-conditioning controls and turn off the air, and vehicles can rapidly overheat, despite generally mild conditions.

At the first sign of excessive panting or drooling, incoordination or sluggishness, get your pet into a cool, shaded building, and run cool—not cold—water over them, to stop the overheating process. Avoid wrapping them in soaking-wet towels, which will trap the evaporating heat. Point a fan at your pet to achieve maximum heat evaporation, and offer small amounts of drinking water. Monitor your pet’s temperature, and discontinue the cooling process when they reach 103 degrees, or they may cool down too much. Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to life-threatening heatstroke without prompt recognition and treatment.

Protect your pet from July Fourth celebrations

Although July Fourth festivities are often the highlight of the summer season, they pose several health risks to your four-legged friend, including the two biggest hazards—fireworks displays and cookouts. Here are some tips to steer clear of July Fourth dangers:

  • Create a haven — Most pets are fearful of loud noises, so create a haven for your pet during booming fireworks shows. Build a bunker, preferably in a small room with no windows, or room-darkening curtains, that you furnish with a cozy bed, soothing music, and calming pheromones, to cocoon your pet from the sparkling displays and loud noises. Minimizing the sounds and lights is the best solution for easing your pet’s anxiety.
  • Watch for open doors — Sequester your pet inside your home, ideally in a confined area such as their crate, during your July Fourth cookout. With guests coming and going, an unattended pet can easily slip out through a door and off down the road, and become lost. 
  • Avoid barbecued food — Ask guests to avoid slipping your pet any barbecued treats. Hot dogs, rib and chicken bones, and high-fat side dishes can cause serious harm to your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Vomiting and diarrhea may be the least of your furry pal’s worries if a rib bone gets stuck in their intestinal tract, or some pasta salad full of mayonnaise causes life-threatening pancreatitis. Instead, have pet-friendly treats on hand that your guests can offer your four-legged friend. 

You may hate to exclude your pet from your July Fourth festivities, but your furry pal is much safer indoors, with their own holiday goodies, such as fresh veggies, small bites of fruit or lean meat, or commercial pet treats. Also, you can help your pet stay cool and join in the cookout fun with their own treats, such as a frozen stuffed Kong, or tuna juice ice cubes.

Protect your pet from parasites

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes crop up more frequently in the summertime, when warmer temperatures spur these pests through their life cycles, and they go on the prowl for a hot meal—your pet. These parasites can transmit a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases, including heartworm disease, Lyme disease, tapeworm infections, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, to your pet. Keep your best friend safe from such serious diseases by maintaining a parasite prevention schedule. Whether you choose prevention products that should be administered every month, or every three months, ensure you give your pet their  heartworm, flea, and tick preventives on time, to avoid gaps in protection. 

No matter the season, the Leawood Plaza Animal Hospital team is here to help. Whether your pet needs their parasite preventive refilled, or experiences a July Fourth mishap, call us for assistance.