Today is the first official day of summer – and the longest day of the year. With this in mind, I wanted to launch the Central Spay, Neuter and Wellness Clinic’s blog with a few summer safety tips for pet owners.
1. Make sure your pets have access to shade and plenty of water. If you think it’s hot outside, then think how your pet feels under that fur coat! If your pet has to be outside for any length of time – five minutes or five hours – make sure there is a cool, shady spot he can lay – under a nice shade tree or under a porch are two great places. If neither of these is available, consider building a shelter or investing in a kennel top. Proper hydration is just as important as shade – Fido is just as susceptible to sun burn and heat stroke as you or I. Keep a bucket of fresh, clean water available to your pet at all times. My outside watering buckets are under a tree, and I rinse and refill them every evening.
2. We hear stories every year about someone leaving a child or elderly person in their vehicle while running errands, only to come back and find their loved one seriously ill or dead. Pets are just as much at risk. Even in the shade, even with the windows cracked or rolled all the way down, the temperatures inside a vehicle will exceed the temperatures outside a vehicle within a very short period of time. If you’re planning on running errands while you’re out and about, leave Fluffy at home – and take Junior and Granny into the store with you. The extra hassle is worth the lives you’ll save.
3. Fleas, ticks, biting flies, mosquitoes… The joys of the summer months! These pests are as much a nuisance, discomfort, and health threat to your pets as they are to you. If you haven’t already, discuss pest control options iwth your veterinarian. There are several products on the market that are both safe and effective, but it’s best to ask your veterinarian which products are right for your pet’s particular needs. Remember that pest control products are breed specific. You wouldn’t use Fido’s flea control meds on Junior – you shouldn’t use them on Fluffy either! And those diseases that are spread by the nasty little biters – Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Encephalitis, to name a few – are as much a danger to your pets as they are to you. Do everyone a favor and start a pest control regimen today.
4. Heartworms are a danger any time of the year, but the nasty biters that spread heartworms are at their peak during the summer months. A pest control regimen is one step in controlling heartworms. Heartworm preventative is the most important step. Heartworm pills also control intestinal parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm, which also see a peak during the summer months. Some types of heartworm preventatives even control fleas and ticks, but not all do, so make sure you discuss the needed precautions with your veterinarian.
5. Summer always brings an increase in visitors to state and federal park lands, as well as other hot vacation destinations. Many of us enjoy taking our pets on outings. No matter how well-trained your pet is, never take him to a public area off-leash. Even the best behaved pet can be induced to run into traffic – or into the wood – or after another animal – or to bite that nasty tail-pulling brat in the next campsight – in the heat of the moment, and with no warning. Making sure your pet is leash-trained and is always on-leash when in public areas is really in your pet’s best interests.
6. Remember when you were a kid and you would play until you dropped? Your pet is still that kid. Whether you’re hiking, swimming, or playing Frisbee, make sure your pet has plenty of opportunities to rest and rehydrate.
I hope you already practice these simple methods of keeping your pet safe, happy, and healthy, not just during the summer months, but year round! If you don’t, call your veterinarian today and schedule an appointment. Fluffy and Fido don’t have the skills needed to take these precautions for themselves; they also lack opposable thumbs. For these reasons, it’s up to you to make sure their needs are met.
Is your pet spayed/neutered? Every day thousands of unwanted dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are put to sleep in shelters all across this country. For every pet that is altered, an entire litter’s worth of lives are saved. You have the power to help us reduce the number of pets who die in shelters, but you have to have your pet altered to make the difference. If you’re just not sure – visit your county dog pound, and you’ll see why the spay/neuter surgery is so important. In addition, pets who are altered are less likely to develop certain cancers and often live longer than pets who are unaltered. Call Central Spay, Neuter and Wellness today and schedule an appointment to have your pet spayed/neutered. Unable to afford the procedure? Contact your local Humane Society, ASPCA, animal shelter, or other rescue group and ask about programs for low-income families. Help is out there – you just have to ask.