Help Your Pet Enjoy Their Summer by Keeping Them Safe and Healthy

We know how to keep cool and hydrated, and we know the health risks we could face during the hot summer season. However, your pet must rely entirely on you to know what is best for them, and that includes their safety. It might seem obvious that our canine and feline companions need water and shade to be comfortable, but there are many other factors to consider as well.

Common Summer Pet Hazards

Ensuring your pet’s safety and well-being during the summer is not difficult, but it is impor-

tant to be aware of potential risks (minor and major) they could encounter on any given day. These include:

  • Heatstroke – As with humans, our pets can succumb to heat exhaustion, or heatstroke, if they spend too much time out in the sun and heat. Pets are especially at risk when left unattended in a parked car. NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle, not even on a seemingly mild day. The interior of your car can go from 70 degrees to 100 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Instead of bringing your pet with you on errands, leave them home where it’s much cooler.
  • Drowning – Unfortunately, even dogs that can swim can become fatigued and drown. If you are going to allow your pet to swim, stay with them, and invest in a lifejacket to keep them afloat.
  • Poisoning – Certain plants can be extremely toxic for pets if ingested, including ragweed, stinging nettle, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and sumac. Certain lawn fertilizers and pesticides can also be toxic if consumed, so be sure to keep them out of your pet’s reach, and keep your pet off the lawn if it has recently been treated. Chlorine in pools and saltwater from the ocean can also make your pet sick, so don’t let them drink from either.
  • Parasites – Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other nasty bugs can wreak havoc on our pets during the summer. Make sure your pet has had their vaccinations within the year, and is currently taking their monthly parasite preventatives. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, and flea bites can cause allergic reactions. Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease, which is very costly to treat, and potentially fatal if left untreated. Giardia, a protozoan parasite, can be found in water and can cause severe diarrhea in your pet.
  • Bacteria – Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can be found in areas frequented by wildlife, and puddles (and larger bodies) of water. Pets can easily pick up this disease if they drink from contaminated puddles or lick their feet after walking through a puddle. Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of infected raccoons and deer. The ocean, lakes, and ponds carry hundreds of other types of bacteria that can compromise your pet’s health. Prevent your pet from drinking any water that did not come from a tap.