Most of us are out and about much more in the summer, including many of our pets! But summer comes with its own set of potential problems. Common sense and preventive measures can prevent illness and injuries for our pets. Here are our Top 10 tips for a safe and happy summer:
1. Prevent Parasites. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites are a year-round problem where warm weather is the norm, but in summer they’re practically everywhere. Seek advice from a vet in your area & take precautions!
2. Stay Cool! Pets can succumb to heatstroke, so be sure that whenever your pet is outdoors, he always has a shelter from the sun, and plenty of fresh water.
Add ice cubes or blocks to the water to keep it cool longer. If it’s extremely hot and humid in your area, consider a cooling vest for your dog. Don’t jog or bike with your dog in hot mid-day temperatures; stick to morning and evening.
3. Leave Rover at Home. You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: never leave your dog in a car if the weather is warm, and certainly not if it’s hot! Cracking the windows makes no difference in the temperature gain. It doesn’t take high temperatures for it to be dangerous. If you see a dog left alone in a car under dangerous conditions, note the car’s location, color, model, make, and license plate number, and contact local humane authorities or police, who usually have authority to break in to save the animal.
* Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area. * Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest; or immerse her in cool (but not cold) water. * Allow small amounts of cool water or let the dog lick some ice cubes. * Get to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
4. Avoid Sunburn. Sunscreen may be needed for pets with white fur around their face and ears—even indoors, if they’re sunbathing through windows. Susceptible areas are where the fur is thin and the skin is white or pink. You can use a human sunscreen or sunblock product (but be sure to clean it off when you get home), or get one especially made for pets, such as Solar Rx, which is green, vegan and chemical free.
5. Protect Against Poisons. This is the also the time of year when people are using fertilizers, mulches, and pesticides in yards and on lawns.
If you suspect that your pet has gotten into something:
Tygerberg Poison Information Centre
The 24-hour emergency number: 0861 555 777
Administrative contact number: +27 21 938 6084 (office hours)
6. Watch Out for Critters. Walking and hiking with your dog summer increases the chances of encountering unpleasant or even dangerous wildlife, such as porcupines, scorpions, or puff adders. Some toads have poisons on their skin that can be deadly even if your pet merely licks at the toad. Toads come out in wet weather and when it’s dark, so be especially careful when letting your dog out at these times.
7. Don’t Let Burrs Get Buried. Foxtails and burrs can get caught in the paws or fur and work their way into—or even through—the skin. Check your pet after every outing to ensure its fur isn’t harboring any of these nasty items. Other sharp items also multiply in warm weather…if you live near water or take your dog on fishing trips, be careful with your fishing hooks and lines, and watch out for those that may have been left behind by others.
8. Drive Safely. As much as your dog may love to ride in the back of a bakkie, or hang his head out the window, either can cause your dog a world of hurt. Dust and gravel in the eyes are just the beginning; every year thousands of dogs are injured or killed when they jump or fall from vehicles.
Cats should always be kept in a carrier while the car is in motion; many cats actually prefer it, because the smaller space makes them feel safer. Always make sure the cat is well secured before opening the car door. Some cats can be trained to walk with a harness and leash, but this is not something to try for the first time the day of the trip!
9. Always Carry Identification. Pets should always wear a collar or harness and ID tag, no matter where they are or where they’re going. Cats should be fitted with a breakaway collar for maximum safety. Please consider having your pet microchipped as added “insurance.”
10. Be Prepared. Whether at home or away, keep a first aid kit ready in case of emergencies. There are special kits for both dogs and cats, so you never have to panic! You might also want to keep flower essences on hand, to keep your pet calm while you give first aid or head for the vet. Several products are available:
Bach Rescue Remedy
Pet Essences Pain Relief
Pet Essences Emergency Rescue
And there you have it! Once you’re prepared for summer hazards, you’ll be able to relax, have fun, and enjoy the summer season with your pet!