June is the start of summer in most areas of the world, and its also known as National Pet Preparedness Month! People are generally most active in the summertime with road trips, camping, swimming, hiking/biking, and other fun activities for the warm weather season. Most of us involve our pets in those activities as well, so let’s talk about some ways to be prepared for a fun summer with your pets!
Keep extra Supplies in your Car
I have a small tote in my car with extra supplies such as water, extra leashes for the pets if needed, and since my dogs are so obsessed with chasing the ball- I have an extra ball launcher in my tote, just in case I want to stop at the park or lake to play with the pups for the day. It’s always good to be prepared for spontaneous moments of fun with the family and pets, but also having a kit in your car can prepare you for the not so fun moments of breaking down on the side of the road…
Be cautious of any seasonal hazards
Watch for any plants or even other animals/pests that come out during the summer that could cause your pet harm. Consider your pet during summer events. Did you know that the Fourth of July is the busiest time of year for animal shelters? Pets will escape their safe homes to run from the noise of the fireworks and end up getting lost or picked up by someone. Backyard barbecues are the best during the summer, just keep an eye out for your pup sneaking something to eat that they shouldn’t or getting too close to the grill. If you have kids, they will be home for summer vacation and will likely have lots of friends over, toys left out everywhere, and are just around more during the day so naturally, your pets might be a little thrown off and act up. More kids around? Let’s chase them. More stuff left out? Mmm, these shoes smell yummy enough to eat (true story)! Think of your pet’s temptations and be attentive when you are having a busier lifestyle during the summer.
If you can’t keep your dog out of the water in the summer, make sure to be checking their ears regularly as constant wet/moist ears can lead to ear infections. If your playing fetch, make sure to not overwork them. If you have a pool in the backyard, careful to not keep your pets unattended near the pool as they may fall in and not be able to get out. If you are playing at a lake or river and boat/water sports/ traffic is around, keep an eye on your pet so they don’t get hit by anything while swimming. If you are taking your pet boating, consider a life jacket, even if they can swim well. If you are far offshore and your pet falls in, that could be a long tiring swim for them! If you are having fun at the beach, make sure there is plenty of fresh water for your pet to drink as too much saltwater can be harmful to them.
If your pets worship the sunshine like mine, make sure they have a place to cool down indoors and out. Don’t trust that they will know when they are getting too hot! If your pets turn into primarily outdoor critters during the summer, make sure that even if they are outside for a short period of time, they always have access to fresh water to stay hydrated and a place to escape the sun beating directly on them.
Don’t leave your pets in the car during the summer
This goes without saying, but it happens all too often! The pup wants to go with you to run errands at the store, you think it’s going to be a quick trip. It takes only 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to raise 20 degrees! On a 60 to 70 degree day- temperatures inside a car can reach up to 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 30 minutes! News flash- If its that warm outside, Leaving the windows down will not help! Some states are now making it legal for folks to break windows and let pets out of cars to avoid heat stroke. Furthermore, in some states, you could be fined or even charged with a misdemeanor and jail time for leaving a pet in a hot car!
Flat Faced Breeds
Flat-faced breeds of pets such as Persian cats, Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, and even some pit bull type dogs can be super sensitive to heat and are more susceptible to heat stroke, as they cannot pant effectively as a pet with a normal length of muzzle/face. Keep an eye on these pets as they will have a hard time with the warmer temperatures and will take a longer time to cool down.
Watch for hot surfaces
If you live in a hot climate and have a lot of concrete or asphalt around – be cautious of your pet’s feet! Concrete and asphalt tend to retain heat very well and for a long period of time. If the temperature is a simple 77 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the concrete or asphalt temperature can reach as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. If you regularly walk your pooch, reserve walking times in the early morning or late evening to make sure their paws do not get burned. Their paws are as sensitive as our feet! Follow the 7-second rule, if you cant hold your hand or foot on the surface for 7 seconds, neither can your pet! If you must walk your pet during the day, make sure to put booties or other types of foot protection on them.
Be cautious of overheating when doing activities, plan to keep your pet hydrated and take more frequent breaks. Make sure to keep an eye on your pet when doing physical activities, in general, to make sure they are not over-doing it. As the temperatures warm up, you will need to shorten intensive exercise sessions to avoid overheating. And once again, be mindful of hot surfaces!
Make sure your destinations are pet-friendly
Beaches, campgrounds, and even national parks do have pet policies, some might even not allow pets. Before going out on your adventure with your pets, check and see if pets are even allowed in the area!
More activity = More accidents
A lot of pet emergencies tend to happen in the summer, as we tend to be more active in going outside and doing things. Be cautious when you are out on adventures with your pet. Be prepared to be out for longer hours, and its always a good idea to make sure you have a back-up plan if you need to take your pet to the vet and yours is already closed. Know where the closest emergency facility is for your pet. Keep the phone number and address programmed into your phone. When out and about in the wilderness or a remote area, keep a pet first aid kit handy for your adventures.
Whatever the adventure…
Hiking, biking, swimming, beach time, whatever fun plans you have for the summer, don’t forget to include your pets in the fun and plan ahead to keep them and your family safe. A little bit of planning and preparation can go a long way! For some more fun, summer-inspired activities to do with your pet, check out my article on the 12 places to vacation with your dog, as well as road tripping with pets!