I hate those awful, hot, humid days we get on the East Coast, and guess what? So does my dog. Imagine those same hot days while wearing a skin tight fur coat and not being able to sweat THAT’S what it’s like for your dog or cat!
How can you make sure that they have the most comfortable summer ever?
I saw a lot of preventable dog ailments when I was a vet tech. I’ve assembled the best tips for keeping your pets cool and happy during the hot summer months, including some things that you might not have thought of!
So, curl up with your pet while it’s still not too hot out, and enjoy these tips.
Visit the Vet! 1 of 13It's always a smart idea to visit your veterinarian and check in to see if there are any special concerns, like this year's high allergy season and high chance of fleas and ticks. If you time it well, you can also schedule your pet's annual vaccinations to occur in the late spring, making it one stop shopping.
Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto_Dennis Guyitt
Prepare for Flea and Tick Season 2 of 13Summer means bugs, and some of those bugs are the ones that make your pets itch and scratch. Learn about how to cope with fleas here.
Image Credit: Jay Barnes
Heartworm Disease 3 of 13You are so happy I didn't include a photo of this one and gave you that nice little map instead. Heartworms are a parasite that, well, become worms that live in a pet's heart causing heart failure and death. The parasite is transmitted by mosquitos. Don't fool around with this disease. As a vet tech, I'd seen dogs with it. It's brutal and horrible and easily prevented with medication.
Image by DEXX Labs
Plenty of Access To Water! 4 of 13This is the #1 thing you need to do to ensure your pet's happiness and health during the hot weather. Water bowls in the backyard, water in the house always full, hell, leave the toilet seat up in case your pet gets desperate.
Walk Your Dog Early Mornings or Evenings 5 of 13
Grooming! 6 of 13If you've got a long haired pet, consider a haircut to make the summer months more comfortable. Not too short, though! You don't want to have also apply sunscreen (which you totally have to do to those hairless dogs).
Image Credit (creative commons Flickr)
Pets in Cars: NO 7 of 13Unless you are there and the air conditioner is running, your pet should never be in the car. Just no. Never. Not even for a minute. The greenhouse effect can kill them much more quickly than you can possibly imagine. While I was a vet tech, I met three separate owners that just couldn't believe how close their dogs came to death while they "quickly" shopped.
Image Credit: Free Stock Photos
Caution Around Water 8 of 13Best not to leave your pet unattended by the pool or the lake or the beach. Yes, most animals can swim instinctively, but even so, most don't swim that well. If they are in the water, they need your watchful eye.
Image Credit iStock Photo
Check Window Safety! 9 of 13When the weather warms up and we open all the windows, veterinarians begin seeing what they call "high rise syndrome" cats that have fallen out of windows. Cats LOVE to sit in a window and check out the world, and if your screen isn't locked in place or has a rip, your cat can easily fall out. Yes, cats are great at falling, but you might be surprised to hear that they do BETTER with longer falls than short ones, so if you have two stories to your house your cat could be seriously injured. (Side note: as a vet tech I once saw a cat that fell out a window onto a person's HEAD; both the cat and the person were seriously hurt.)
Having A Picnic? Bringing Grapes? Don’t Let Your Dog Eat ‘Em 10 of 13It might seem sweet to take your dog out for your picnic, but if you want to snuggle with your honey the dog might end up with his head in the picnic basket eaten stuff that is toxic to him. See this list of toxic foods for pets for reference.
Image Credit 123rf
Watch Out For Lawn Chemicals 11 of 13Be sure to check your local park and watch out when walking your dog in your neighborhood; there are many lawn chemicals that are toxic to your pet, particularly cats.
Watch Out For Dog Paws On Hot Pavement! 12 of 13If you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, you can also burn dog paw pads. Heading to the neighborhood art festival that means you'll be meandering on hot pavement all day? Leave your dog at home unless he's wearing dog booties.
Image Credit: iStock
Watch Out For Overheating and Dehydration! 13 of 13If you dog or cat is excessively panting, and is hot to the touch, you need to help it cool down. Cold wet towels, actual cool water from a hose or in a shower, and plenty of water to drink will help. If your dog becomes listless and has stopped drooling, you might be dealing with dehydration which means you need to get to a vet immediately. You'll find some great tips about recognizing overheating and dehydration here.
Image Credit: Flickr
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