Summer Pet Care Tips

We are all feeling good summer vibes: warm weather, tasty BBQ food; and lots of outdoor activities to pursue. But, the rising temperatures bring concerns for pets associated with heat, ticks and health issues. Keep your dog and cat safe this season by implementing these summer pet health tips:

Your Dog Is Feeling the Heat

Sometimes we forget that pets cannot easily dress down like we can in the summertime (unless pet owners take their dogs to a professional dog groomer to trim their fur). They may not be showing it, but dogs and cats are sweating in their fur coats. Dehydration and heat stroke are major threats for both pet owners and pets; and it's important that both animal and human drink extra water during summer and take breaks from the sun.

Dehydration In Dogs

Heat Stroke and dehydration go hand-in-hand. Dogs with short snouts or overweight pups are more likely to get heat stroke. Although the most common sign of heat stroke is the loss of elasticity in the skin, dogs may also experience these common heat stroke symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Dry gums
  • Decreasing urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooping eyes

If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, hose them down with cool water; give them fresh water to drink; and get them to shade. Dogs are big fans of ice cubes and may enjoy a dip in the pool or in a kiddie pool (just make sure they have a floating device, if needed).

For cat owners, avoid sheltering kitties in garages where dripping antifreeze may be accessible for them to lick. For a cat, as little as a teaspoon can prove fatal! Just like dogs, cats will need plenty of water and shade.

How To Keep Your Dog Cool

Dogs keep cool by panting; and they will pant excessively while outside for long periods of time. Dogs also release heat from their paws; which is why it is necessary to avoid hot pavement or asphalt. It may be best to take dogs for late afternoon walks when the heat is decreasing and the sun is going down to avoid pains in paw pads. 

Dogs love a good car ride; but if you stop to go into the store, and leave your dog there, stop this habit. There can be damaging effects to dogs if the temperature is above 65 degrees. (Remember, dogs are wearing a permanent fur coat.)

Avoid Tick Bites On Pets

While ticks are a year-round problem, ticks are most active in the spring and summer months when the weather is hot and they can easily find a host to feed on for survival. While there are many types of ticks crawling throughout the United States, not all ticks carry tick diseases. However, the ones that do may be carrying Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other common tick-borne illnesses that can cause serious illness to both pet and pet owner. If pet owners choose to fence in pets, it is important to perform a thorough tick-check on pets once they come inside to cool down. Not only will grooming pets regularly keep their fur un-matted, but it will make finding ticks on pets easier than before. Know how to remove a tick and be prepared to take dogs and cats to the veterinarian, if necessary.

Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs?

Pet owners can eat BBQ and other summertime meals all day; but they may want to avoid giving dogs anything off the grill (sorry, no hot dogs allowed!). Dogs have trouble digesting corn on the cob; and meats, such as BBQ chicken, can give dogs diarrhea. Avoid giving dogs watermelon, peaches and any fruits with pits, cores or seeds, as these types of fruit are choking hazards for pets. Pets also should avoid ice cream and anything with chocolate. 

Summertime is a favorite season for so many pet owners; and it's a great time of year to bond with your pets. Take the necessary steps to proper pet healthcare; and enjoy the outdoors together!

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