We all look forward to the long, warm days of summer, including our pets. We take our dogs on walks around the neighborhood and hikes in the Marin headlands, lounge with them in the yard or poolside and take them with us to Stinson beach. Our feline friends can be found basking in a puddle of sunlight either indoors or out.
With the warm weather comes a variety of things that can affect your pet's wellbeing. By taking appropriate measures as well as having a heighten awareness, you can ensure your pets are happy and healthy all year round.
Here are some sound pet protection guidelines for summer and beyond.
Because dogs and cats don't sweat, they can easily become overheated. If you take your dog on walks, hikes or runs, always carry water and stop to allow them to drink frequently. Avoid taking them out in the heat of the day. Watch for warning signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, which include excessive panting, seeking out shade and stopping frequently.
Leaving pets in the car
In the summer when temperatures soar, leaving pets in the car for even a few minutes can prove fatal. Because they can't cool off except through panting, dogs and cats can quickly overheat. Even if the temperature outside a car is cooler, it quickly rises inside a vehicle, reaching deadly levels within 15 to 20 minutes. For example, a University of San Francisco study showed that the interior of a car registered 105 degrees after sitting in 88 degree weather for only 20 minutes. As a rule, it is best to avoid leaving pets in the car for any amount of time, no matter the weather.
Pets are just as susceptible to sun exposure and skin cancer as humans, especially on areas that are not protected by hair or fur. Ears, noses and bellies can benefit from baby-safe sunscreen, a practice that is often recommended by vets. Apply sunscreen even on indoor cats since they, too, will sit in windows and get sun exposure.
Consuming human food
We all love to reward our furry friends with a treat of table scraps but allowing our animals to indulge can result in significant intestinal issues to their sensitive digestive tract. Pets can even get pancreatitis from eating human food, a potentially life threatening ailment. The best reward is to feed them a high quality pet food augmented with pet treats on occasion.
Snakes, spider and insect bites
Summer brings out a myriad of creatures, many of which can cause serious issues if they bite your dog or cat. If your animal is bitten by a spider or snake, take them to the vet immediately. Take a picture of the snake or spider, if possible, as this can help the vet determine if the bite is serious or merely a nuisance.
The summer months show an rise in the number of lost pets. Many of us take our pets to the beach and on vacation with us as well as spending more time outdoors, they have more of an opportunity to escape. To prevent or minimize your pet being lost, ensure they always wear their collar with an updated ID tag that includes your cellphone so you can be reached immediately. Microchipping is a great backup, especially if your dog or cat isn't wearing a collar or the collar comes off. It is also highly recommended to keep your dog on leash during hikes in Marin County and at the beaches along the Great Highway to deter their ability to explore.
These precautions will keep your favorite pooch or kitty cat happy, safe and healthy, ensuring they are a beloved family member for many summers to come.
Article excerpt Costco Connection July 2017 edition.