Summer is a great season to own a pet.
There’s the warm sun, the extra hours of daylight, and all those vacation days that are burning a hole in your (metaphorical) pocket.
While June, July, and August are some of the best months of the year to be a pet, they can also be one of the most dangerous. We’ll spare you the lecture on not leaving your pet in a hot car (you already know not to do that…duh!) Here are five unexpected things to look out for as you enjoy the dog (and cat!) days of summer.
Snakes? What is this, the Australian Outback? You might be surprised to learn that only two U.S. states are home to no venomous snakes at all. Summer is one of the most active seasons of the year for snakes and they prefer to be out during the coolest parts of the day…much like your pet. Outdoor cats and off-leash dogs are most at-risk of being bitten, but any pet who walks or plays in a wooded or high-grass area is vulnerable. Walk loudly, stay alert, and always keep an emergency vet in your contacts list just in case.
Have you ever seen the video of the asphalt so hot you could fry an egg on it? When it’s less than 90 degrees F. outside, the sidewalk and asphalt can actually be as hot as 140 degrees and higher. When you’re walking your pet on those surfaces in the heat of the day, it can feel like the equivalent of walking barefoot over hot coals. If the sidewalk’s too hot for you to press your hand against it comfortably for 5-7 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet. Invest in some rubber-padded shoes for your furry friend and/or stick to walking in the mornings and evening when things cool down to be safe.
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Just like people, some pets are allergic to bees. And not just allergic…some animals are actually susceptible to anaphylactic shock as a result of an insect sting that can cost them their life. Bees are particularly active in spring and summer and their nests can feel irresistible for curious, wet noses. If your pet has never been stung by a bee, use extra caution when in their vicinity. When stung, always monitor your dog or cat closely for signs of trouble breathing or excessive swelling which can be life-threatening.
Grilling out in the summertime is a national rite-of-passage. Pets love it, too, because they often get the scraps! Some grilled foods can actually be harmful for animals, including anything with bones which can become lodged in your pet’s throat. Also be sure to keep any lighter fluid, charcoal briquettes, and even propane tanks out of your pet’s reach, just in case. And don’t forget to keep your pet inside while the grill cools down with the lid open to keep curious licks at bay!
Pets who love to swim love summer. It’s the perfect time of year for rollicking in the waves (or lake, or stream…) but it’s also a great time of year to get a bacterial infection. Never, ever let your pet go swimming in water if she has an open wound; common bacteria like cyanobacteria, giardia, and E. coli. love lukewarm water. Even if your pet doesn’t have a cut, be sure she doesn’t drink any potentially-infected water by always carrying plenty of clean drinking water and a portable water bowl with you.
Summer is amazing. It’s when dogs and cats get to enjoy the great outdoors to the fullest, and likely the time of year when you get to spend the most time enjoying being a pet owner. This summer, be safe, be aware, and most importantly, have fun.