It’s summertime and the living is easy. Summertime means fun, sun, and hopefully lots of play outdoors. But as much fun as summer can be for you and your pet, there are a few safety tips that will hopefully make the warmest of all seasons safe and carefree for all concerned.
That’s right, you should apply sunscreen if your pet spends more than just a few minutes outside every day in the hot summer sun. Pets with light skin and short or thin hair coat are particularly prone to sunburn or skin cancer. The sunscreen should be fragrance free, non-staining, and contain UVA and UVB barriers similar to sunscreens made for humans. Consult your veterinarian, but there are some sunscreens available made specifically for pets.
Provide Plenty of Water, Plenty of Shade
Dehydration in dogs and cats is a real possibility during the summer, especially if your pet is the type to run and play outside for extended periods without drinking sufficient water. This is even more of a concern if you take your pet to the beach or Indian River where they may ingest salty water. Signs of dehydration include dry gums, loss of skin elasticity, excessive drooling. Don’t let it come to this. Give your active pet plenty of playtime breaks in the shade with access to fresh water.
You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal, but it can quickly lead to heat stroke in dogs and cats. In bright sunshine, your car acts like an oven, becoming much hotter inside than the outside temperature. In fact, on a sunny 70 degree day, your car can heat up to over 100 degrees within minutes. So, either take your pet with you or leave him or her at home during shopping trips.
Watch for Unknown Grassy Knolls
Pets love to run, play and just investigate grassy areas. But did you know many lawns are treated with fertilizers and pesticides during the summer? Keep your pet safe this summer by keeping them off unknown grassy areas or find a safe spot in your neighborhood or city, like a dog park. Remember, not all grass is created equal.
Keep your dog’s paws cool
When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out to be injured or killed in an accident).
Even though antifreeze is something to watch out for year round, cars tend to overheat more and leak antifreeze during the summer. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and pets find it delicious, but even in very small amounts it is poisonous in dogs and cats. So be attentive when walking your dog around the neighborhood or letting your outdoor cat roam the streets.