• Kelly Daniel

Warm Weather Pet Safety

While the calendar says we still have another month to go, my kids are out of school and the temperatures are reaching well into the 90,’s so as far as I’m concerned summer has arrived. Summertime is fun time, but hot weather makes for some unique summer pet care challenges. Although wild animals are well adapted to the elements, companion animals can be just as susceptible to extreme temperatures as their owners are.

When the temperatures get extreme, pet safety should be top of mind.

Here are five ways to stay safe while enjoying summer activities with your pet:

Respect the heat.

Humans aren't the only animals that can find a hot summer day overwhelming. But unlike you, your pet has a limited ability to deal with the heat. Dogs release heat through their paw pads and by panting, while humans can sweat through all of the skin on their body. Dehydration can be a big problem for pets during the hot weather, too. According to the ASPCA, animals with flat faces—like Pugs and Persian cats—cannot pant as effectively, and are therefore more susceptible to heat stroke. You should also keep an eye on elderly or overweight pets or animals with heart and lung disease. In the summer, make certain that Fido and Fluffy always have access to plenty of fresh, cool water, and avoid letting them run around outside during the hottest parts of the day. Keep bugs away—safely.

Another summer pet safety issue is the presence of fleas, ticks, mosquitos and other summer insects. Not only can bugs carry diseases, but the ways people try to ward them off can also cause problems for your outdoor pet's health. Fertilizers and pesticides may help keep a lawn looking great, but they can be very dangerous for your pet. Be sure to check to make sure the products you are using are safe for your four-legged friends before treating your yard. And if you have a professional company treating your yard for mosquitos, make sure your pets are in the house and the windows are closed before the exterminator gets there. In the areas where your pets play, it's better to keep the grass cut short to reduce the presence of fleas, ticks and other insects. Also keep an eye out for fertilizer warnings on neighbors' lawns when walking your dog. Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to protect your pet from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other insects that are more prevalent during the summer months.

Stay Cool in the Car Never ever leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle!

Even if it’s just for a moment, and even if the windows are cracked—it is never safe to leave an animal in a parked vehicle alone. It can lead to fatal heat stroke and cost an animal their life. Even if the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, it can be up to twenty degrees warmer inside your vehicle in a matter of minutes. If you do see an animal trapped in a car on a hot day try to locate the owner or call 911 immediately. Stay by the car until assistance arrives.

Keep their skin safe.

Just like their human counterparts, some pets, particularly those with short fine hair and pink skin, can be susceptible to sunburn. Talk to your veterinarian and find out if your pet needs sunscreen, then be sure to check which types of sunscreen are safest on your pet's skin, and follow up by regularly and frequently applying sunscreen as part of your summer routine. Do not use sunscreen or insect repellents that are not designed specifically for use on animals. The ingesting certain sunscreens can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy in pets.

Practice water safety. As with other aspects of summer pet care, water safety is all about thinking ahead. Although it's fun to bring your pet to the beach, lake, or pool to stay cool together, always keep a close eye on your pet when they're in or near the water. Even a strong swimmer could have trouble getting out of a pool, or get trapped by ropes and other obstacles. For more risky summer adventures with your dog, like boating, look into a doggie life preserver even if your pet is a strong swimmer. It could prove to be an excellent investment for their safety.

Weekly Wish: Kitten season continues. We need Royal Canin Kitten food, and fosters for our tiniest friends until they are ready to go to their forever families. Food can be dropped off or sent to the shelter at 1140 Ware Drive, Auburn, AL 36832 during normal business hours. Foster info can be obtained by calling the shelter at 821-3222 or by emailing


Auburn, AL | | 334-821-3222

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