It’s that time of the year again: picnics in the park, lazing by the poolside, long walks on the beach…we’re talking about summer! Whether you’re planning a staycation or gearing up to travel, make sure you read our safety tips so the whole family (pets included) can have some fun in the sun.
1. Apply Sunscreen
Believe it or not, humans are not the only ones who need added protection from the sun. According to the American Kennel Club “dogs are prone to sunburn and to other complications and diseases associated with sun exposure.” This tip applies to cats as well. Hairless breeds, or those with white or thin fur are particularly at risk. Make sure that the sunscreen does not contain any zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), as these ingredients are toxic if ingested.
2. Protect their Paws
Your pet’s paw pads are not shoes, and are prone to extreme heat. If you touch the ground with your palm and aren’t comfortable, it is too hot for your pet’s paws as well. Pavement and sand get particularly hot in the summer, so city dwellers and beach lovers should invest in some paw protection. If paw coverings are not an option for your furry friend, avoid peak heat hours and opt for early morning or evening outings when possible.
3. Keep Cool
Although pets have some natural ability to regulate their body temperature, they rely in part on the perks of domestication. Make sure to provide plenty of fresh drinking water, and shade whenever possible. In case there isn’t natural shade under a tree or structure, consider packing an umbrella or keeping outdoor excursions short. Leave a fan or air conditioner running at home to ensure a safe, comfortable temperature.
4. Don’t Shave
Since cats and dogs are unable to sweat, they have to rely on other means to regulate their body temperature. Though you might think it’s too hot for a full coat of fur, your pet actually relies on their fur to keep cool. “Acting like insulation, a [pet]’s coat keeps him from getting too cold in the winter, but also keeps him from overheating in the summer.” (ASPCA) Getting a trim to keep fur more manageable is okay, but shaving their fur altogether not only robs them of their natural insulation, but also increases risk of sunburn. Make sure to regularly brush their fur and bathe them to improve air circulation.
5. Recognize Overheating
Watch for these indicators that your pet is overheating:
- 🐈Panting/🐕Frantic Panting
- 🐈Excessive Grooming
- 🐕Excessive Drooling
6. Prevent Parasites
Summer is peak pest season, so it is imperative to consult with your veterinarian on preventative measures. Outdoor activities make your pet susceptible to taking home internal and external parasites. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites can carry tapeworms, heartworms, and diseases such as Lyme or Bartonella.
7. Don’t Leave Unattended
As a general rule, try not to leave your pet alone at home for more than 4-6 hours. Make sure that you leave them with enough food, fresh water, and regulated temperature. If you decide to let your pet play outside, make sure to refresh their water and check that they aren’t exhibiting any signs of overheating or other health issues.
In some states, it’s actually illegal to leave your pet unattended in a car. The temperature can rise to unsafe conditions extremely quickly. “On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes,” according to the Humane Society. Even if you think you’ll be done with your pit stop in 10 minutes, it isn’t worth risking the health and safety of your pet.Petsmile is committed to improving your pet’s health and overall quality of life. Petsmile only uses human grade quality ingredients for our products. Petsmile products are free of any known allergens, or any animal by-products. Try our products risk free today.