The dog days of summer are upon us, and that means longer days and lots of gatherings and outdoor fun. This also may mean changes in your dog or cat’s regular routine. To help your pets enjoy the rest of summer’s festivities right alongside of you, see below for some common summertime activities that could pose a potential risk to your pet, and tips for how to manage them.
Top 10 Watch-outs & Safety Tips for Pets
1. Grilling. While adults may congregate around the grill master, the heat of the grill, raw meats, and sharp utensils can pose a risk to children and pets, and charcoal briquettes can be appealing toys or snacks. Keep that area free of smaller party guests at all times.
2. Fire. An open flame from a fire pit (or grill) can spark or create embers, which can cause your pet’s fur to catch fire, or cause a painful paw burn if your pet steps on it. Keep your beloved pet(s) away from any open flames.
3. Table Food. Corn-on-the-cob can pose a choking risk, fatty meats can cause stomach upset, some meats have bones that easily splinter, and chocolate is always a no-no for pets. Be sure your pet cannot access the food table, and warn guests to not feed table scraps either. Keep some Holistix natural dog biscuits nearby for a healthy snack!
4. Open Doors. With people going in and out, cats and dogs might escape to an unsafe environment, or even get injured if caught in a closing door. Post signs at the doors to warn guests to watch for pets upon entering or exiting.
5. Swimming. While cats typically steer clear of the water, many of our canine friends love a refreshing swim. Put a life jacket on your dog if in a boat or any water above shoulder height, and avoid letting your pup swim with large groups to prevent an accidental underwater dunking.
6. Plants. Did you know that many common household plants, including tulips, azaleas, ivy, oleander, lilies and the yew plant are all poisonous to pets? Some symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, kidney or heart problems, or worse. Keep these plants quarantined, and contact your vet if you think your pet ingested any plants.
7. Fleas & Ticks. These summer pests can make your pet – and your household – very itchy. Even worse, they feed off your pet’s blood, and may cause Anemia, Lyme disease or Erhlichia, which can cause arthritis or kidney failure. Apply topical flea & tick medicine in your pet’s recommended dose, and continue to apply through late fall.
8. Exercise. Take your dog outside early in the day when it is cooler so he or she can release some energy and avoid over-stimulation from a patio full of guests. Is your dog or cat a less social pet? Keep him or her in a cool, quiet area, with some background noise like (e.g., an A/C or TV) to distract.
9. Open Car Windows. Like us, our pets love fresh air. While summertime may conjure images of dogs hanging their heads out the window, with tongues wagging, this can actually pose multiple dangers. Smaller pets may jump or fall out the window, or road debris may catch an unsuspecting dog in the eye. This can cause irreparable damage at any speeds, so keep your pets safely inside the car.
10. Heat. In the dog days of summer, a fur coat can cause your pet’s body temperature to increase to unsafe levels, and a hot pavement can burn sensitive paws. If outside, be sure your pet has access to ample shade and plenty of cool water. Sprinklers and hoses are a fun way to cool off the whole family.
Have any additional watch outs of your own? Share your summertime pet safety tips or stories with other pet parents at www.facebook.com/eaglepackpetfood.