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Summertime Tips for Safe and Healthy Pets
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
Almost everyone loves summer, including most pets. By practicing the following safety tips and taking some simple precautions, you can increase your pet's chances of avoiding some potentially stressful summer hazards.

1. Watch for heated cars. It's always fun to take your dog -- and even some cats -- in the car with you. But remember how your car can heat up under the summer sun. Even with the windows down, the internal temperature can rise quickly. And pets will overheat fast. What you think is just a short run into the grocery store could be dangerous. Your best bet is to leave pets at home and let them enjoy the nice, cool house.

2. Provide lots of fresh water. When it's hot outside, pets will drink a lot more water. So make sure you keep their bowls filled up. Pets are also notorious for spilling their water, or even playing in it. So make sure you keep your pet's water in a bowl that cannot be turned over. Also, remember that water sitting in the sun will get hot. So if a pet is already overheated and they drink hot water, it is not going to help them to cool down.

3. Ensure plenty of shade. Many pets should not be in direct sunlight for long periods of time. If you are out at the park with your pet, make sure you take your breaks in the shade. This is especially true for our dark coated breeds. Direct sunlight for extended periods can really cause them to overheat especially fast.

4. Be careful of loud noises. Some common summer sounds can be scary to your pets. Fireworks and thunderstorms are the often the biggest offenders. Thunderstorms arise very fast and can really cause pets to become frightened. Make sure your pets are in a safe place where they cannot hurt themselves or get loose. Many times their natural instinct is to run, and we see lots of pets getting lost during times when there are storms or loud fireworks going off.

5. Avoid the hot pavement. Be careful when walking your pet on the hot cement during the summer, because their feet can get burned. I typically see lots of problems with foot pads around the spring and summer. Many pet owners want to enjoy the nice warm weather, and they'll take their pets for a walk or run while they do. But if your pet's feet are not adjusted from living inside during the winter, they can burn and blister. Walking pets in the grass is a great way to prevent these types of injuries.

6. Beware of parasites. Fleas, ticks, snakes, bees, and bugs really come out in numbers during the summer months. And it's always important to protect your pet from fleas and ticks with good monthly prevention. And avoid areas that are common habitats for snakes and bees. Nothing can ruin a nice summer day like a snake bite or bee sting.

What special precautions do you take with your pets to make sure they have fun and healthy summers?


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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