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Keeping Your Pet Safe This Summer

Sun Exposure

Cats and dogs can get sunburned, especially if he/she has light-colored hair, causing the same problems as that of humans: peeling, redness and even cancer. As skin cancer in pets is a serious concern, purchasing pet-friendly sun screen can go a long way in protecting the health of your pet when the heat kicks in. Places that are easy to forget, but prone to burning are: inside the nostrils, tip of nose, around your dog’s lips and the inside of ears for dogs with standup ears.

Water

Give your pets extra water during the summer months, but be sure not to leave the water out for too long, as bacteria grows in hot water and could potentially make your pet ill. Also, it’s important to remember that when dogs are thirsty, they are bound to drink something they shouldn't. Puddles of what may look like water on the ground can be dangerous chemicals, so keep an eye out when your dog is looking for something to sip.

Grooming

Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, but never to the skin, so your pet still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

Heatstroke

Never leave your animals alone in a parked car. Dogs can develop heatstroke fairly quickly. Signs include excessive panting, staring, anxiety, warm skin, refusal to obey commands by owner, vomiting, collapse and rapid heartbeat. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from this, lower the animal's body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after just a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. If this happens, take the dog to the vet immediately – don’t try to solve the problem yourself.

A Safe Splash

Buy a kiddie or dog swimming pool and fill it with water for your pet. But, do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool – not all pets are good swimmers. Introduce your pet to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. To remove chlorine or salt from the fur, rinse your pet after swimming. Be sure to also keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other potentially poisonous chemicals.

Outdoor Events

Warm temperatures and outdoor fun go hand-in-hand, but when the temperatures hit record highs, refrain from taking your pet to crowded summer events like concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets.

Exercising

Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but show extra care to older and overweight pets that are more at risk from high temperatures. Limiting exercise to early morning or evening hours can help. Extra caution should also be taken with short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats.