Summer Pet Care
Keeping Your Pet Safe
by: Anita Ginsburg
Summer pet care changes for most people, and it’s important to stay informed. As the days get longer and sunshine gets hotter, even indoor pets can be affected by the heat. Pets that are outdoors are at greater risk during the summer months. Changes in protocols, diets, exercise and even keeping a close eye on the water bowl are important.
Birds and Other Pets Kept in Cages and Aquariums
Even pet birds can be affected by too much sunshine streaming through a window. Bedrooms and other rooms that may receive little human traffic and little monitoring throughout the day may get too hot or even too cold. Mice, gerbils and other small pets kept in aquariums with screen tops can have any heat magnified due to lack of ventilation and being in a glass enclosure. Birds can be very susceptible to drafts from air conditioning. Choose a place for cages and glass enclosures for small pets wisely.
Dogs and Summer Heat
Dogs will literally play themselves to death sometimes. Young dogs are eager to run, jump and play until they can no longer physically do it. All dogs are eager to please their human companions and will keep on going even when they are already overheated. Heat exhaustion in dogs include symptoms like excessive panting, dizziness and vomiting. Dark fur and thick coats exacerbate the problem. Dogs do not sweat. They have to pant for temperature control. A little panting is usually okay, but excessive panting can mean serious overheating has already occurred. All dogs should have a cool place to retreat to in the summer that has an unlimited supply of cool fresh water to drink.
Cats and Summer Sunshine
Cats seek out high places that are warm. They like to lay on top of electrical appliances such as computers and televisions. This is why they will choose to sleep precariously balanced on a window sill where the sun is shining through the window rather than go sleep on that comfy bed purchased for them. Cats are not as rambunctiously playful as dogs, but they are susceptible to the heat in houses and apartments where owners forgot to turn on the AC before leaving for the day. In hot climates, indoor air temperatures can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with the windows closed and no air conditioning running.
Pets and Summer Car Rides
The rule is to never leave a pet inside a motor vehicle that is not running with the air conditioning on with an adult also present. In some states, it is illegal to leave pets in cars. Even with the windows partially open, the internal temperature of a vehicle can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in less than ten minutes on a summer day. Even recreational vehicles with generators are a risk since RV air conditioning systems are notorious for AC breakers tripping and generators shutting down. Leave pets at home, or have someone in the vehicle with them if a stop must be made, even if it is for only a minute.
Pests and Summertime
Summer is a fun time outside romping through manicured lawns or even trekking through the woods. Pests and dangerous bacteria abound in the outdoors. The two main issues are fleas and ticks. Pesticide formulations should be prescribed by a veterinarian specific to the species, breed, weight and overall health condition of the pet. They should be applied or given at the recommended intervals and dosages. Heartworm medication helps protect against the deadly heartworm disease spread by mosquitoes. Other dangerous pathogens may exist in soils and outdoor water sources. Simply digging or nosing around in the dirt or swimming in a creek or pond may lead to a deadly infection. Pet owners should ask about risks specific to the places pets will have access to.
Summertime Pet Food and Water Issues
An increase in activity is likely to come with a corresponding increase in hunger and thirst. Active pets need more calories. They also need quality pet food to help prevent against allergies that often show up as skin problems. That water bowl that only needed filled a couple of times a day in the winter may need filled more than double that amount in the summer. Outdoor water bowls should be cleaned daily and protected from birds, rodents and insect infestation. Wild birds carry many pathogenic bacteria, and rodents can transfer serious illnesses to pets and humans.
Owners should think about the heat of summer. If it is uncomfortable for them, then it may put their pet at risk of death. After all, many pets are wearing a fur coat in the summer, and they cannot sweat to control body temperature. Do not let pets overdo summertime fun, and make sure they have lots of fresh water and even the occasional cool treat if it is okay with their vet. Talk to your local vet about other summer pet care tips to keep them safe and healthy during the summer heat. If you think your pet may have heat exhaustion, be sure to take them to a vet right away. Do not wait for care with serious conditions.
Informational credit to Chester Valley Veterinary Hospital
Anita Ginsburg is a Freelance Writer from Denver. firstname.lastname@example.org
A QUESTION FOR YOU:
Have you had to make changes this summer to keep your pet safe?
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