1. Always provide plenty of fresh water.
This should go without saying but, unfortunately thousands of pets die every year due to dehydration. Keeping adequate water that is easily accessible in more than one location is crucial during the hot summer months. Make sure that the water is clean as well as the dish the water is sitting in to prevent infection from contamination. Also keep the dish out of direct sunlight. Signs of dehydration include lethargy, confusion and agitation. If you see any of these signs, it is important that you contact your vet before symptoms become worse.
2. Provide a cool place for your pet to relax in.
Providing shade and a well ventilated area during peak heat times is essential to maintaining your pets health and happiness. You wouldn’t want to be stuck out in the blazing heat, so why would your pet? Remember, your pet must depend on you to make sure they have what they need, including shade and the proper shelter in which to protect them. Consider providing a kiddie pool for your pet to cool off in. Or just play it safe and bring them inside when it gets too hot. Also know your dog breed well. Brachycephalic dog breeds (those with shortened snouts such as the English and French bulldog, Pugs, Pekingese and Boston terrier, to name a few) have a much harder time to cool themselves through panting and are at a higher risk of overheating.
3. Protect against fox tails.
More than likely you have foxtails somewhere throughout your yard. If not in your yard, then they are not too far away from where you live. Fox tails are a weed that at first is green and soft to the touch. However, as they dry out they become a real nuisance. They are designed to burrow their way into the ground with seed. But they easily attach to the fur of an animal and then burrow their way into a patch of skin. This is incredibly painful for your furry friend. Common areas where foxtails are found include between the toes, ears, nose, mouth and genitals. But it’s important you give your pet a thorough head to toe inspection as fox tails can be found anywhere. When left untreated, and because the body cannot break fox tails down they develop into an infection that can cause serious harm to your pet.
4. Protect against ticks and fleas.
The soft fur of your dog or cat provides the best environment for fleas and ticks. It is recommended to treat your pets against fleas and ticks year round. In Utah, fleas are not that common, however if you travel out of state, or if you adopt a pet from out of state, you need to be prepared. Ticks however are a different story here in Utah as they are quite common. It is important that you check your pet often for this. Ask your local veterinarian about ways to prevent this as well as ways to treat.
5. Provide some form of sunscreen for your pets.
The long hair of many dog breeds provide excellent sunscreen. If you are worried about your pet overheating in its heavy coat, remember to provide plenty of cool, clean, fresh water to drink and possibly a wading pool for your pet to play in. Another option is simply bring them inside to enjoy the air conditioning when the temperatures soar. However, sunscreen is very much needed for your fur friend with fair colored skin and those with thin short hair, especially hairless breeds. Sensitive areas include the nose, ear flaps, belly, and any shaved or bare patches of skin. Please note that it is imperative that you use only formulas that are specifically intended for dogs. They should not contain zinc oxide, or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), as these ingredients are toxic to dogs if ingested.
6. Recognize the signs of heat stroke.
Excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, uncoordinated movements, collapsing and loss of consciousness are all signs that your furry friend may be in danger. If you see any of these signs, please contact your local veterinarian immediately. Again, ways to prevent this from happening include having plenty of clean water always available to your loved one as well as providing a cool, well ventilated area for your pet to rest when needed. But remember, if it’s too hot outside, even shaded areas can be dangerous and your pets should be brought inside. Please also try to avoid exercising your animals in hot weather.
7. Never leave your pet in the car while it’s hot outside.
Hundreds of pets die every year from this. Regardless of how short of a time you think you will be away, or whether you crack the windows, never leave your pet in a hot car. The temperature will rise very quickly and in a matter of a few minutes, your pet is already in danger. This is not only reckless, but it is also considered to be a form of animal cruelty.
8. If going in or near water, consider providing your dog with a life vest.
Just like people, even dogs that are experienced swimmers can find themselves in situations when they are unable to swim well enough to reach safety. Whether it be due to some form of cramping, or exhaustion, it is better to be safe than sorry.
9. Never put your dog in the back of a truck bed without being properly secured.
You never know what may happen and you certainly cannot control the other drivers around you. All it takes is one accident or your pet jumping out into traffic for you to tragically lose your loved one. If a pet has to be in a truck bed, it should be in a secured kennel with a water dish. This should only be done for short distances as pets can experience heat stroke while left out in the sun.
10. The bottom line is that by following these tips, you and your furry friend(s) can have a wonderful and safe summer filled with lots of memories.
Author: Mandi Thorne