Summer is full of fun with outdoor barbecues, picnics, and fireworks displays. But they can be stressful and even dangerous for pets. Follow the 8 tips below to keep your pets safe and happy during the summer celebrations.
1. Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags.
With all the excitement and activity of summer, it's essential to ensure your pets wear identification tags. In case they get lost or wander off, having identification tags with your contact information can help ensure they are returned to you safely. You can also consider getting your pets microchipped, which provides a more permanent form of identification. Make sure to update your contact information with the microchip company if you move or change phone numbers.
2. Having a BBQ or picnic? Keep food and drinks out of reach of pets.
During your summer fun with picnics and BBQ’s, there are lots of food and drinks for guests to enjoy. However, many of these items can be harmful to pets if ingested. Keep all food and drinks out of reach of your furry friends, and make sure to clean up any spills or dropped food immediately. Some common foods that are extremely toxic or can be harmful to pets include:
- Uncooked meats.
- Chicken wings and any meat with bones.
- Chips (and other snacks high in salt)
Salsa (contains both onion and garlic)
- BBQ Sauce (like salsa, contains onion and garlic)
- Grapes (and raisins) Grapes and raisins contain tartaric acid, which is toxic to dogs and cats.
- Corn on the Cob (known for causing choking or obstructions in the intestines)
- Macadamia nuts
3. Keep your pets away from hot grills and open flames.
Another common hazard for pets in the summer are hot grills and open flames. Pets can quickly get burned or start a fire by knocking over a grill or getting too close to a flame. Please keep your pets away from these areas. If you use a grill, ensure it is cool before allowing your pet to approach it.
First aid steps if your pet gets burned from a grill.
If the unfortunate happens and your pet gets burned from a grill, you must act immediately and follow these instructions from the American Veterinary Association:
- Flush the burn with room temperature water. This process may be painful so take appropriate precautions, such as applying a muzzle, to avoid being scratched, bitten, or otherwise injured.
- Cover the burned area with towels dampened with room temperature water.
- Seek immediate veterinary care.
4. Provide plenty of shade and water.
During hot summer celebrations, it’s important to make sure your pets have access to plenty of shade and water. Keep them indoors or in a shaded area if possible and provide them with a bowl of fresh water that is easily accessible. You can also freeze some water in a bowl or use a cooling mat to help keep them cool. Avoid leaving your pets in a hot car, even for a short period of time, as this can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. See our blog Safety Tips for Pets in the Face of Rising Temperatures for more hot weather safety tips.
5. Use pet-friendly insect repellent.
Insect repellent is a must-have during summer, but not all repellents are safe for pets. Many insect repellents contain DEET, which can be toxic to pets if ingested or absorbed through the skin. Look for pet-friendly insect repellents that use natural ingredients like citronella, lemongrass, or eucalyptus oil.
6. Keep your pet safe around swimming pools or bodies of water.
If you own a pool or take your pet with you on a visit to a friend with a swimming pool, it is critical to supervise your pet around the pool. It is very possible for a dog, or any outdoor pet, to drown in a backyard swimming pool. Even dogs who are seasoned swimmers can drown because they instinctively go to the sides of the pool, but then they aren't able to figure out how to get out of the pool. Sadly, around 5,000 family pets drown in a backyard swimming pool every year.
Pools should be surrounded by a fence to protect children and animals from unsupervised access. Also, pool alarms alert you if someone enters the water or pool area. Dog life jackets or cat buoyancy aides can protect your pet around a pool or near bodies of water.
7. Protect your pets from diseases spread by pests.
Unfortunately, along with summer temperatures, we see an increase in pests such as ticks and fleas. In addition to being an annoyance for both humans and pets, these pests can spread diseases that can be fatal to pets when left untreated. Prevention and early detection are paramount to survival for some types of parasitic infections. You can read more about these diseases and prevention from our blogs:
- Lyme Disease
- Fleas and Ticks: Protecting Your Pets and Home
- Heartworm In Dogs: Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until There Are Symptoms
While you are planning your summer fun, keep your pets in mind and plan ahead to include the above safety tips to keep your furry loved ones safe. We can help you by microchipping your pet or ensuring their microchip is still working and we have all of the necessary preventative medications for pets that you can order on-line or pick up at our clinic.
Dr. Tammy Stevenson
Advanced Pet Care Clinic