Summer has begun—the season meant for fun, sun, and spending time outdoors with pets. But summertime dangers lurk just outside. Whether taking a walk, a drive or just hanging out in the backyard, there are extra precautions that people can take to keep their four-legged family members happy and safe.
1. Never leave a pet unattended in the car on a warm or sunny day. Cars quickly heat up to a dangerous temperature, even with the window slightly open.
2. Keep pets up-to-date on their vaccinations and preventative medications. Fleas and ticks stay busy in warm weather and summer is also the prime time for heartworms. Check with a veterinarian about the best way to keep pets healthy.
3. Keep cats indoors to keep them safe. Cars, other pets and wild animals can all pose risks to cats' safety. By providing playtime, cat trees and other enrichment, a cat will be happy and content to stay indoors.
4. Beware of cocoa mulch and other gardening products. Cocoa mulch can be deadly if ingested and has an appetizing scent to some animals. Pesticides, fertilizers and other harsh chemicals can also be quickly fatal if ingested. More common items that can be hazards for pets »
5. When taking a dog for a walk on a hot day, plan for shorter walks midday, when temperatures peak, and longer walks in the morning and evening when it's cooler. Hot sidewalks can burn the pads on a dog's paws, so walk on the grass when possible.
6. Pet rabbits should be kept indoors because they don't tolerate heat well. Keeping a rabbit indoors will also provide protection from predators who might try to attack a rabbit in an outdoor hutch. More about rabbit housing »
7. Never leave a dog outdoors unattended on a chain or tether. Long-term chaining during the hot summer months can result in countless insect bites, dehydration and heat stroke. Even short-term unattended tethering can pose risks such as theft or attacks by people or animals. The facts about chaining and tethering »
8. Help your pet stay cool. Try a simple keep-cool tactic such as soaking a bandanna in water and putting it in the freezer before you put it on your dog to wear on a walk. Make sure your pet has plenty of access to a shady area to rest when outdoors. During supervised playtime in the yard your pet might enjoy access to a child's wading pool to cool off in.
9. When driving with pets, be sure to keep them properly restrained and inside the vehicle. Special seatbelts and secured carriers can protect pets during accidents and prevent them from distracting the driver. The back of a pick-up truck is never a safe place for a pet to ride.
10. Be mindful of pets around our wild neighbors. When going for walks or playing in a fenced yard, don't allow pets to harass birds, rabbits, squirrels or other wild animals.
11. Avoid “high rise syndrome”. When the weather warms up, people tend to open their windows. This can be an enticing spot for your pet to sit and enjoy the fresh air and watch the world go by. Whether you live in a house or in a high-rise apartment, be sure to put in screens to prevent your from pet escaping or from slipping and injuring itself in a fall.
12. Stay bite-free. The summer months are the peak season for dog bites because so many kids and dogs are playing outside. Training, socialization, and dog spaying or neutering a dog can reduce the risk of dog bites. Kids can learn to stay safe through good manners around pets and humane education. More about dog bites »