Summer has arrived, and that means time for fun in the sun with family and friends. From July 4th parades and fireworks to street fairs, farmer’s markets, and art and music festivals, there is a plethora of activities for the whole family to attend. For pet owners, that can include bringing their pet along. While the summer weather provides plenty of opprotunities for outdoor events and gatherings, there are a few key factors pet owners should consider before bringing along their four-legged friend. Throughout this summer we will be sharing safety tips to keep your pet healthy and happy during all the outdoor adventures you’ll want to bring your pet along for.
Check out the topics you can expect us to cover in our new Summer Safety vlog series:
Fireworks are really fun for the kiddos, but usually not so much for dogs or cats. While some tolerate the sound of fireworks, many get very anxious and distressed. If you know your pet dislikes fireworks and other loud noises, you should either have a plan in place so you can go with them to a comfortable location before the noise starts, or consider leaving them home to avoid the situation. The same goes if your pet is new to you and you’re unsure how they will react. Be sure to “test the water” in a situation where you can get your dog away from the noise quickly.
In addition to July 4th fireworks, take the noise volume into consideration for whatever event you’re bringing your pet to. Music, large crowds, loud trucks, or motorcycles can all create anxiety.
High temperatures affect all dogs and cats, and certain breeds are particularly susceptible to heat exhaustion. Before bringing your pet to an event when the weather is hot, make sure you take into consideration the ability to keep them cool and comfortable. This means making sure ahead of time that you’ll have access to shade and water. If the event is in an urban location on hot pavement, you’ll have to provide protection for your dog’s paws or be able to avoid it. Consider the time of day the event is taking place. If it’s an all-day event, go early in the morning before the heat sets in or after dusk when it’s cooling off. If the event is in the hot afternoon sun, it may be best to leave your pet at home.
In addition to the heat, pet owners need to take into consideration other weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, wind, and rain. If your pet gets anxiety from the sound of thunder, you’ll need to be able to get them to a comfortable location should a storm occur. Summer storms can be unpredictable and an isolated thunderstorm can pop up out of nowhere, so it’s important to be able to seek shelter immediately. If you do get caught out in the elements, it’s important to have supplies to clean mud off and dry your dog.
Ah, the smell of onion rings and fried dough! These tasty human treats are delicious to us and although tasty to pets as well, are very bad for them. Summer is the season of food trucks and fair food. Dog owners need to be very prepared to make sure their pet does not eat any of this human food while out at crowded events. You will either need to train your dog to understand a command such as “leave it” or have them on leash to prevent them from eating anything they shouldn’t. A short leash or one that has a second handle for a short lead is best.
Many strangers in the crowd will think it’s okay to give your dog a little treat, so a short leash will help by keeping your dog closer to you, as well as providing you the opportunity to have a quicker response. If your dog has any food sensitivities that you are already aware of, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious when around that food. Also take extra care around chocolate, onions, alcohol, and coffee. These foods are very toxic to dogs.
Preventive Veterinary Services
In addition to preparedness specifically for these outdoor events, you also want to make sure you have taken care of general health matters for your pet, such as keeping them up to date on their vaccines and preventive medicines. Unfortunately with the onset of the warmer weather come the fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. If you need preventive refills, or if it’s time for your pets annual heartworm test, please contact us or schedule an appointment!
If your dog will likely come in contact with standing water and other dogs during the summer, vaccines for leptospirosis, influenza, and bordetella may be recommended.
Make sure your pet’s identification tags are up to date and legible. This should include a name tag, rabies tag, and any other local licensing needed. It’s also a good idea to make sure the rings used to attach the tags are in good working order. Occasionally the thinner, weaker rings get pulled and separate, causing them to fall off.
Is your pet microchipped? If not, you may want to consider having it done. It’s a beneficial tool in locating your dog should they get lost. It’s also a good idea to have a recent photo of your dog on your phone (or the old school printed method), should your dog get loose and run off at an event. Make sure you have all of the proper restraints (collar, harness, leash) and that they are in good condition. As previously mentioned, do not use retractable leashes.