Keep these safety tips handy, and enjoy a happy, safe summer with your pets.
- Hot concrete can burn: it’s advisable to take walks with pets during early morning hours or later in the evening when pavement isn't a risk to pets’ delicate pads.
- Bodies of water can be dangerous: while swimming can be a great summer activity for pets, never leave pets unattended near a swimming pool, pond, lake or river. Even with pets that are typically great swimmers, accidents can occur very quickly and unexpectedly.
- Toxic plants can cause harm: that beautiful flower that blooms in the summer may cause stomach upset, or worse, if Fido gets into it. Certain types of mushrooms may be toxic, even causing liver damage in some instances. Veterinarians warn that many common plants are surprisingly harmful to pets. For a complete list of hazardous plants, visit www.aspca.org.
- More than just an annoying bite: pests such as heartworms, ticks and fleas are much more prevalent in the warmer months. Speak with your vet regarding the best method for preventing these creatures from infesting pets. In areas such as the Northeast where cicadas are so prevalent, a potential bite may not be of concern. But, if pets ingest one, it can cause digestive upset.
- Beware of the sun: pets can suffer sunburn and even skin cancer from sun exposure just like their human companions. Those with white hair, short cuts or naturally thin hair are particularly susceptible.
- Provide shade for pets to help prevent heat stress and keep pets safe from sun exposure.
- Use pet-safe sunscreen for dogs or horses; sunscreen for cats is still a work in progress, according to Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM. Visit www.vetmedicine.about.com for additional information.
- Sunglasses/goggles are available at pet shops and supply stores to protect precious eyes from sun damage.
Additional tips for safety at home:
- Remember that fire pits and grills can be dangerous to pets. Flames can burn a curious pet and ashes can cause illness if ingested.
- Although they’re an exciting part of the summer season, fireworks can cause injuries if pets get too close to them. In addition, just the noise from fireworks can scare pets, causing them to run away. In fact, more pets run away and are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year, according to dog expert Cesar Millan.
- Thunderstorms can cause the same reaction as fireworks. Keep an eye on pets during these noisy summer occurrences.
Additional information regarding summer pet safety can be obtained by visiting the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s site at www.avma.org.
Summer activities can be a great way for you and your family to bond with furry friends. With this safety checklist, you can ensure safety at home for you and your pets this summer.