Summertime Pet Safety Do's and Don'ts

The hot, active days of summer can hold hazards for pets. Keep the following things in mind to ensure that your pets enjoy themselves as much as you do!

A few helpful guidelines to keep in mind this summer:
DO exercise your pets in the relative cool of morning or evening, and do not take them for long walks right after mealtime
If your pet must be outdoors during the day DO provide access to lots of consistent shade (not just a tree) and plenty of clean water. Pets that are older, overweight, or have heart or lung conditions should be kept indoors during the day.
DO make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing proper ID. Summer activity provides more opportunities for pets to become lost, and microchip identification is an easy and inexpensive way to help provide your pet's "ticket home".
DO keep screens on doors and windows and make sure they are in good repair. It just takes one bird, squirrel, or animal walking by for a cat or dog to leap out the window and fall.
DO use caution when letting your pet swim in lakes or romp in large puddles, as these bodies of water can be breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases such as giardia. A safe rule of thumb is, if you wouldn't let your family members swim there, neither should your pet.
DO remember that the pads of your friend's feet are extremely sensitive and can easily burn on hot pavement and asphalt.
If your summer plans involve spending time outside with your pet, DO make sure your plants and gardening materials are safe for your pets. The ASPCA has a helpful list of toxic and non-toxic plants. Click here to access that list.
DO be aware of the signs of heatstroke: excessive panting, unsteadiness, weakness, rapid pulse, glazed eyes, red and/or purple tongue, non-responsive. Heatstroke is a life-threatening situation and requires immediate treatment.
DO always carry fresh water and a bowl in your vehicle.
DO NOT leave your pet in the car -- even with the windows cracked! The greenhouse conditions of a car can create interior temperatures reaching up to 120 degrees even on a mild day in the 70s. Pets can suffer heatstroke and/or suffocation leading to brain damage and death within minutes.
DO NOT shave your pets all the way down to the skin! Instead of keeping your pet cool, a close shave removes protection from the sun. Without this protection, your pet is more likely to burn or to develop heatstroke.
You need a lifejacket when boating and so does your pet. DO NOT count on "instinct" to keep your pet safe if he leaps or falls overboard.
DO NOT forget the calendar. Keep your pet on monthly heartworm, parasite, and flea and tick preventive.
Most importantly, DO have fun with your pet this summer! A little forethought and common sense can keep your pet safe and happy through the summer months, so be sure to use both this summer!