Can you believe that summer is already coming to an end? As we prepare for one of the season’s last cookouts or family gatherings, let’s make sure our pets stay safe for the holiday, too.
Keep Pets Cool
Although we are in the final stretch of summer, the temperatures continue to be rather high. Unlike humans, pets can’t cool down through sweating. Instead, they release heat through their tongues by way of panting. Just like when humans sweat, the water released through this cool down needs to be replaced. This is why it is so important to have fresh drinking water available for your pets. This is especially important following a long walk or car ride. It helps them stay cool and keeps their body temperature regulated.
If your pets are outdoors quite a bit, they need to also have a cool spot to relax and get away from the sun. A nice alternative for your pets would be a children’s plastic pool under a shade tree. They can get wet, keep their temperature low and relax in the shade. If you don’t have trees available, you will need to provide some sort of shelter for them to escape the sun and relax in a cooler place.
Watch for Sunburn
It is funny to think that pets can get sunburned, but those with light-colored skin or hair are more susceptible to the sun’s rays. In some cases, extensive exposure to the sun can even result in skin cancer. There are several sunblocks on the market now that are pet-friendly. Talk to your vet about what would work best for your pet. Make sure that when you apply sunblock, you put it on unprotected areas such as their nose and ears. Do not use sunscreen on your pets that are made for humans. If your pet ingests sunscreen, the chemicals used in these can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, thirst or lethargy in your pets. Instead, use a sunscreen that specifically says on the label that it is for animal use.
Stay Safe Around Water
There is nothing better on a hot day than a dip in the pool. However, with adults, children and pets, pools can be dangerous if proper safety precautions aren’t put into place. This is especially important if you have an older pet who cannot get in and out of the pool as easily as they used to. If you don’t want your pet in the pool, place a protective fence around the water to keep them out. There are also ramps that can be used to make it easier for your pets to get in and out of the pool if they accidentally fall in.
Also, if you are planning to go boating or be on the water with your dog, never leave them unsupervised. Just like in humans, dogs can get cramps while swimming, become tired or get caught by undercurrents in the water when they are too far offshore. To keep your dog safe, make sure they wear a life jacket, which is specifically designed for dogs. This can save their life in case of an emergency.
Watch What They Eat and Drink
With so many cookouts planned, it is easy for your pets to hop up and grab themselves a special treat. It is also more tempting to feed your pets a scrap or two from your plate so they feel part of the festivities. Resist these temptations. By keeping your pets away from raw foods and by feeding them their normal diet, you are helping your pet’s digestive system. Changing even one meal for your pet can give them diarrhea or severe indigestion. Plus, there are many common foods that people eat such as onions, chocolate, avocados, grapes and raisins that can be very toxic to animals.
Alcohol can also be poisonous to your pets. If it is consumed, your pet can become very intoxicated, weak, depressed or even go into a coma. In severe cases, respiratory failure can occur and may even result in death. Instead, make sure they have fresh, clean water available at all times.
Avoid the Repellent
Bugs can be a nuisance to you and your pet while enjoying the outdoors. However, don’t be tempted to apply bug or insect repellent to your pet unless it specifically says that it is pet-friendly. If your pet ingests this product, they can suffer many side effects such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or excessive thirst. Also products containing DEET can lead to neurological problems in your pets. These same issues can also arise with the use of sunscreen, so please make sure anything you apply to your pet is specifically pet-friendly.