Summer Guide to Pet Care By: Robin Nobl

Let’s face it, our pets are more than just furry creatures that hang around. Our pet companions are more like family. We put a lot of effort into their care and wellbeing, and that is ever more present when the heat of the summer weather hits. Our homes can get hotter, casual walks become a real workout, and traveling becomes a major struggle. And like home care for seniors, we have a responsibility to look after our pets.

Photo Credit: Well Pet Coach

Finding ways to keep them safe and comfortable is a top priority. Whether you’re taking them with you on a family vacation, moving with them, or just spending a summer of leisure at home, here’s a summer guide to caring for your pet!

1. Be sun smart! When we get out into that strong summer sun, we take tons of precautions to keep ourselves safe.

From sunglasses and sunscreen to exercising earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Heat exhaustion and sunburns can affect our pets as much as ourselves. Make sure that your pets are comfortable when they’re outdoors or out for exercise.

If you happen to have a canine or feline friend who’s skin is exposed to the harsh sun, indoors or out, use a sensitive sunscreen to help them block out the potentially harmful rays.

Make sure to choose time to exercise carefully. Think about having to go for a walk or run in
90-degree weather with even a light coat on. It would be miserable! Look for signs that your dog
is overheating during your outings, like excessive panting and drooling. If your dog, who usually
loves a long walk, asks for a break, it might be time to take Fido home. 

  1. Take the barefoot test.

You might look at your dog’s paws as “tough as nail” pads that can walk through just about anything. And although that can seem like the truth to a point, the pads on your dog’s feet are highly sensitive. Your dog might not be keen to show that they’re in pain on a walk, but the burns left from hot asphalt will tell you otherwise.

Here’s the key. If you wouldn’t be willing to walk barefoot on a blazing hot sidewalk, the likelihood is, you shouldn’t let your dog either. Wait until it cools down.
Be extra cautious when traveling. Traveling for your pet can be stressful at any point in the year, but we should be extra cautious moving our pets around in the heat of the summer. Of course, we all know not to leave your pet’s in the car.

Windows down or not, the sun beating down on hot metal can make for an uncomfortable and very dangerous situation for your animal.

In general, never leave a pet unattended when traveling in the heat of the summer. Be prepared with the supplies you need to keep them calm, comfortable, and free of the panic that might risk them overheating.
Keep your pets happy at home. If your home already has a pet-friendly interior and exterior, you’re ahead of the game. Even still, it’s always best to do a routine check inside and outside of your home to make sure your pet is safe and secure while you’re relaxing at home.

If you’re a tenant in a home with a yard, call your landlord to schedule a routine check the fence (if you have one) around your yard. You want to make sure it’s secure and that your pet won’t be able to easily escape.

Take a good look for any weeds popping up in the grass as well. Some common weeds can
cause discomfort and even require a vet visit if your pet digests them. And of course, whether
your pet is inside or out, make sure that water and shade are always readily available. Keep your
pets hydrated and give them opportunities to seek shade when they need it.

Know your local Veterinarian! Emergencies happen. Even when we’ve taken every precaution possible to keep our pets safe and happy, some things are just out of our control. That’s why it’s always a good idea to know where your nearest emergency animal clinic is located. If you live in a neighborhood that has a veterinary clinic within a few miles of your home, it’ll be less of a worry when something urgent comes up. In any case, know your vets, know your veterinary hospital locations, and have their numbers on hand.

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