Experts at the ASPCA offer the following summer safety tips:
- Dehydration: Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them and keep pets indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- Overheating Symptoms: Excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting along with an elevated body temperature of more than 104 degrees.
- Heat Stroke: Animals with flat faces, like pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with elderly animals and those who are overweight or have heart or lung diseases should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Summer Travel: Never leave your pet in a parked car during hot summer months. When it’s 80 degrees outside, your car will be a staggering 114 degrees in less than 30 minutes. Dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as people. Once they overheat they can suffer extensive organ damage and can even die.
- Swimming Pools: Never leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
- Ground temperature: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Because they are so close to the ground their bodies can heat up quickly. In addition, their paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
- Yard chemicals: Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Also keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils out of the reach of your pets. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
- Parties: Food and drink commonly found at parties can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, and remember that the snacks enjoyed by humans should not be a treat for your pet. Never feed raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol to your pets.
- Fireworks: Leave your pet safely at home if you plan on attending a July 4th celebration and never use fireworks around you pet. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented.