Summer has arrived in the Midwest, and along with it, there are many dangers lurking for our pets. Excessive heat is an obvious one, but some pet owners may not realize just how dangerous it can be. It is important to keep in mind that summer brings other hazards for your pets as well. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep your pets safe this summer:
Do not leave your pets in the car. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the temperature in your car can rise almost 20 degrees in only 10 minutes, and it keeps rising fast from there. Cracking the windows does not keep it from heating up to dangerous levels. Even if it does not feel that hot outside, the inside of your car can quickly heat up to temperatures that will put your pet at risk for illness or death.
Provide shelter and fresh water. You must provide any outdoor pets with plenty of shade and clean water. Once the temperatures reach the 90s, many experts recommend that you bring them inside your home as well because even shaded areas will be too hot for pets. Under Indiana law, you can be prosecuted for animal neglect if you are not properly providing these necessities.
Be mindful of hot asphalt. Asphalt can quickly burn an animal’s paw pads. Even though it is nice to take your dog for a walk, you must ensure that they are not stepping on burning hot asphalt. As a rule of thumb, you can put your own hand or bare foot on the asphalt for about 10 seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for them!
Do not overdo exercise. Most dogs love a good walk, and while it is healthy for all involved, it can be hard on them during hot weather. Remember, they are covered in fur and do not perspire like humans do, so they can often overheat more easily. Watch for signs of overheating such as excessive panting, drooling, weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Prevent heartworm and fleas. Dogs and outdoor cats should be on preventive medications year-round, but during spring and summer, parasites can be even more rampant. Pets and their families are usually outside more than during winter months, so that can increase the risks for parasites as well.
Do not leave pets unattended near pools. Although some dogs are good swimmers, some are not, so pools (and other bodies of water) can be dangerous. If your pet enjoys taking a dip in the pool, make sure you wash off the chlorine when they get out. It is also important to keep your dog from drinking pool water.
Keep your animals safe during fireworks. Even pets who have not been frightened by fireworks in the past may react badly. To keep your pets safe, they should be inside if at all possible. Check that your pets’ tags and microchips are updated with your current contact information in case they happen to run away or escape.
Avoid insecticides and other chemicals. Many people treat their lawns with chemicals to help the grass grow or kill rodents and/or insects. These can be harmful to pets as well, so chemicals should be stored where pets cannot reach them, and you should avoid lawns that have been recently treated when you are out on walks.
Watch what your pet eats. Summer gatherings with family and friends can be tons of fun, but there are a lot of foods that can make animals sick, and all your guests may not be aware. Definitely avoid giving pets alcohol. The ASPCA also says not to give pets “raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.” There are other potentially toxic foods listed on their website as well. If you think your pet may have ingested a poison or food that has made them ill, you can call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or contact your veterinarian.
Spay or neuter your pets. During spring and summer, shelters and rescues are particularly slammed with unwanted pets. While kittens and puppies are cute, pet overpopulation is a serious problem. Unaltered pets are also more likely to wander away from home, looking for a mate, and face dangers like aggressive animals, traffic, and much more.
Summer is a great time for tons of family fun in the sun, but taking proper care of your pets is a must. Look for some of our volunteers in the Brownsburg Fourth of July parade, and check out www.mistyeyes.org to see our other upcoming events, check out our adoptable pets, make a donation, and more!