Kiel Veterinary Clinic
575 Belitz Drive
Kiel, WI 53042
office: (920) 894-3414 or (920) 565-2171
fax: (920) 894-7815
Summer Pet Safety Tips
1. Hydration and Shelter- Provide plenty of fresh water for your pet whether they are inside or outside. They can become quickly dehydrated.
Providing shade will help your pet stay cool and prevent them from getting sunburn or heat stroke. Even if shade is provided they should not be left outside for long periods because shaded areas change throughout the day and they can still become overheated.
Dog houses are designs to trap heat and therefore are not good shelters in hot weather.
Filling a child's pool with water and letting your pet cool off in it will help too.
Windows in homes should have secure screens to prevent animals from falling or jumping through open windows which can cause them to become injured.
2. Heat Stroke and Sun Burn- Pets are at risk for heat stroke and sun burn when they are left outside in hot weather. Short nosed breeds have difficulty cooling themselves by panting and should stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible. Don't leave pets unsupervised outside on hot, long days even if they have shade.
If your pet is having signs of heat stroke try to cool them with towels soaked in cool water placed on hairless areas (do not use very cold water), let them lick ice cubes, apply rubbing alcohol to their paw pads, apply ice packs to their groin area, offer them Pedialyte to restore electrolytes, hose them down with water and get them out of the heat. The cooling process can be stopped once your pet's temperature has stabilized at between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Continuing the cooling processes after this point could cause them to go into hypothermia. This cooling process should be done as soon as possibleonce heat stroke signs have appeared, your pet's life depends on this quick action. Seek medical attention for your pet immediately. Some of their major organs can be affected by the elevated body temperature even if they seem ok. They also may seem to become better after cooling them and later develop a complex blood problem which can be fatal. Your veterinarian will know the best way to manage your pet's health. Even with medical treatment heat stroke can be fatal.
Walking your pet during cooler parts of the day like early morning or in the late evening will reduce their risk of heat stroke. Stop excerise if your pet is panting a lot or seems exhausted. Also keeping pets with medical conditions like heart or lung disease, or overweight pets indoors in air conditioning will help prevent them from getting heat stroke. Young and elderly pets have a hard time regulating their body temperature and should be kept cool and out of the sun.
Humid days can be dangerous for your pet because the humidity effects your pet's ability to stay cool by panting and sweating through paw pads.
Signs of a heat stroke are:
Some signs of more advanced stages:
Also walking on hot sand or asphalt can burn your pet's paws. Extended periods of time in the sun can also cause your pet to become sun burnt. Pets with white fur, pink skin, and short hair are more at risk. Applying pet safe sunscreen to sensitive areas like their nose and ears before going out and limiting their time outdoors will help prevent sun burn. Keeping pets on leashes will keep them under control and under your supervision. Pets can run off and become lost or injured when they are not on leashes. ID tags should be woren by pets at all times.
3. Watersports and the Beach- Not all pets can swim or they may not be able to swim very well. If they have health problems it can be more difficult for them to swim. All pets should wear life preservers even if they are excellent swimmers. Pets can become tired or injured preventing them from swimming. Pets in boats could be thrown from the boat and injured or knocked out leaving them unable to swim. Never throw your pet into the water let them go into the water at their own pace. You may need to lift their back end if they are swimming without keeping their back end up. They should catch on with your help.
Pets can have a hard time running on sand and become tired quickly. If you live by an ocean make sure you don't let them drink the salt water it can make them sick. Also you should rinse their coats off after you are finished at the beach. Obey local ordinances and don't take pets to beaches where they are not allowed. Lifeguards can give you water conditions which will help you know if it is safe for your pet to swim. Sea lice and jellyfish can target your dog. Oceans also have strong tides and your pet can be swept out to sea.
Pets in pools should be supervised as they may not know where the steps are to get out. Try to keep them from drinking the pool water as they can get sick from the chemicals. For this same reason pets should be rinsed off after being in pools so they don't lick chemicals they may have on their fur. Pool covers should be secure when put on. Pets can fall through openings and not be able to get out.
4. Vehicles- Pets should never be left alone in a vehicle even with the windows cracked. The temperature inside can raise quickly inside the vehicle and your pet can be killed by heat stroke.
If you do have your pet with you put icepacks in your pet's crate to help keep them cool as well as, providing plenty of water, shade, and ventilation. The A/C in vehicles can fail so pets should still be checked on every few minutes if they are left in a vehicle like a RV even with the windows cracked.
5. Fireworks and Parties- Human food should not be fed to your pets. Some foods are toxic to animals like onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, products with xylitol which is a sweetner, and chocolate. Ask guest to please not give your pets any of their food. You may end up dealing with severe digestive ailments if your pet does get human food.
Fireworks should not be shot off around animals. Fireworks can contain substances which are toxic to your pet. Fireworks can injure or burn your pet. Also the loud noise may frighten your pet. Keep pets away from fireworks and give them a secure place to hide such as in their crate inside a house.
6. Chemicals and Antifreeze- Chemicals used in lawn, garden, and flower care can be toxic and danergous to pets. Keep these products away from pets and follow product directions. If an area has been treated with chemicals keep your pet away for at least 24 hours or as long as the package recommends. Insect coils, repellants, citronella candles and oil products should be keep away from pets as well. Flea and tick products, insecticides, some plants, and rodenticides are harmful to pets if ingested and should be kept away from your pet.
The same care should be taken with household cleaners. Some may make your pet sick. Directions on labels should be followed closely and the products kept away from pets.
Antifreeze which is a year-round danger to animals should be kept away from them. Cars may leak antifreeze, spills may occur from people changing antifreeze or containers might be left out. It usually is a bright green colored liquid which has a sweet taste that can attract animals. It is very toxic to animals. This chemical can be in puddles in the street so don't let your pets drink from puddles. A safer form of antifreeze is propylene glycol.
Contact your veterinarian if you believe you pet has come in contact with or ingested a chemical. Knowing the the chemical or product, when it was ingested, and how much was ingested will help your veterinarian know how to best treat and care for your pet.
7. Grooming- Keeping your pet properly groomed will help them stay cool. Thick fur or tangled and matted fur may trap heat. Shaving down to the skin is not a good idea as the skin can become sun burnt. Also the fur can insulate from the heat. A one-inch shave down is a good length for keeping the pet cool as well as protected from the sun. Brushing pets helps remove excess hair which can trap heat in.
8. Plants- There are many plants that are toxic to animals. Not all are listed here, but a search online can give you a more detailed list. Also looking at the other seasonal safety tips on this site will have other toxic plants not listed here based on their prime growing season.
Cyclamen has roots which are toxic to pets and can cause severe vomiting and even death if ingested.
Kalanchoe can cause diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, and vomiting in pets if they ingest it.
Dieffenbachia can cause drooling, intense oral irritation, vomiting, nausea, and difficulty swallowing if ingested by your pet.
Daffadils contain lycorine which triggers vomiting. The ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression. Crystals found in the outer layer of the bulbs can cause severe tissue irritation and secondary drooling. More severe symptoms can occur from the ingestion of this plant.
Sago Palm can be very harmful to pets. Seeds and leaves can cause bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, vomiting, severe liver failure and even death.
Contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any part(s) of these plants. Provide the type of plant, how much was ingested, which parts, and how long ago if you can. This information will help your veterinarian treat your pet.
8. Pet Health and Vaccines- Pets should be tested for heartworm and tick borne diseases. Heartworm preventative should be used on pets, especially outdoor pets. Flea and tick products should be used to help prevent tick borne diseases and flea related problems like tapeworms. Also flea outbreaks are very hard to treat so prevention is the best thing you can do.
Making sure your pet is up to date on vaccines is important since they come in contact with more animals during the summer. If your pet is not up to date on vaccines care for a pet that has a preventable disease can be very costly or may even have to be euthanized.
9. Travel- When a pet is traveling it is important that it is kept cool and hydrated. If shipping an animal an icepack or ice blanket in the animal's crate will help it stay cool. Two-liter plastic bottles filled with water and frozen work well. Fresh water for the animal is important and providing a container of frozen water which can melt is a good idea as well.
Know airline rules, some will not ship pets during the summer months or will only ship them in the early morning or evening due to hot weather.
If you are traveling with your pet and are going somewhere out of your veterinarian's location check for veterinarians in the area you will be at before leaving. It is better to know where they are before an emergancy than to try to find one during an emergancy.
If you have your pet boarded or someone watching it while you are away contact your veterinarian and tell them who will be watching your pet, the length of time they will be watching your pet and that they can make medical decisions while you are away. That way if there is an emergancy while you are gone the person watching your pet can get it the medical attention he/she needs. There are laws which can prevent someone, who is not the owner, from getting medical attention for your pet. This is why it is important that you let your veterinarian know someone will be making medical decisions for your pet while you are away.