Beat the Heat: Pet Summer Safety!

72191_10151634901786419_1172791973_n-300x202The 4th of July is upon us! Let the cookouts, celebrations, and fireworks commence! In your celebrations, however, don’t forget to look out for the safety of our furry friends!

  • Never use fireworks around pets! Fireworks contain harmful, toxic substances that we definitely don’t want our animals to ingest.
  • The days following the 4th are often busy for shelters because pets who are not properly secured in their homes become frightened and run away. Loud, crowded firework displays can be very scary for pets. We advise that you leave pets at home, where they are safe, and keep them away from windows where they can see firework displays. They will have much more fun at home with the tv or radio turned on in the background to drown out some noise from the fireworks.
  • In addition to safety around fireworks, never leave alcoholic drinks unattended. Alcohol is poisonous to pets, and can result in coma or even death if ingested.
  • Resist the urge to feed them cookout food as well. It is best for your pet to remain on their normal diet.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Make sure any insect repellant you put on your pet says specifically on the label that it is safe for animals. Normal insect repellants that contain DEET can be very harmful.

In addition to keeping your pets safe during all the 4th of July festivities, it’s important to also look out for them in the remaining hot summer days of July and August.

  • As much as possible keep pets indoors where it is cool. If you have to let them outside, make sure they have plenty of shade and water.
  • Avoid taking dogs on walks in the middle of the day. Hot sidewalks can burn their paws. Your dog will let you know when he or she is too hot – look for signs of distress such as heavy panting or drooling.
  • Do not leave dogs in the car under any circumstance! Cars heat up extremely fast. If it is 75 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car will become 118 degrees – even if the windows are cracked! Don’t risk it. Always take your pet inside with you or have someone stand with your pet outside in the shade, even if you only plan to leave your pet for just a few minutes.
  • Summer thunderstorms roll in fast and can be loud and scary for pets. Outdoor pets often become frightened and run away. Watch the weather closely, and bring pets inside if you see a storm coming. Make sure outdoor pets have proper identification such as a microchip and a collar with a tag displaying your current contact information, in case they do run away.

Our furry companion animals aren’t the only ones who need extra attention in the heat! Warmer weather also has safety risks for feral cat colonies.

  • If you feed feral cats in the summer, keep in mind that if you leave food out for more than 30 minutes, bugs quickly are attracted to it. Remove uneaten food, and maintain clean feeding locations.
  • Dry food tends to attract fewer bugs, so consider switching to that in the summer. If, however, you prefer wet food, remember that it will dry out faster in the heat. Add extra water to it to keep it moist – this will also provide a little bit of extra hydration for the cats!
  • Take your cats’ water needs seriously. Put out lots of extra water, and keep the water bowls in shady areas where the water will be slower to evaporate. A bowl that is narrow but deep will also keep evaporation to a minimum.

With these safety tips in mind, both you and your pet will be certain to have a fun and safe summer!

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