Summer brings fun and sun, but pet parents should be aware that under those blue skies and barbecues, there are a number of situations that can be dangerous for pets. Although certain circumstances may seem harmless, the summer season can be deadly if pet parents aren’t careful. To help pet parents keep summer safe, here’s some everyday situations that have the potential to harm pets this summer and ways to prevent them.
The Car: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Sadly, an animal left in a hot car can sustain brain damage or even die in just 15 minutes. The moral of the story, never leave dogs, cats, or any other pet in the car. Even cracking a window does little to relieve the heat on a hot summer day.
Birds of prey: Birds have been known to injure or attempt to abduct cats, small dogs and other small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. This is especially true as people get outside with their pets in summer and humans continue to encroach on the birds’ habitat. The bottom line is: never leave a small pet outside without supervision. Also, learn to look for and read important signs. For example, if the chirping of birds suddenly stops, this can mean a predator may be circling above. If this is the case, immediately take pets indoors to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
Snakes: Warm summer weather calls both snakes and people out of hibernation. Outdoor enthusiasts may find themselves face to face with a less than welcome snake. However, unlike people, dogs may not have the know-how to avoid a venomous creature. Instead, their curiosity may lead them directly into the danger zone. While outside, especially in rural areas, keep dogs on a non-retractable leash, close by so they can be supervised. In addition, proper training not only keeps pets mentally alert but it teaches them to walk side by side with their pet parent rather than pull and lead full speed ahead. If a snake is spotted, calmly and slowly back away from the snake until you are no longer within striking distance. Then carefully leave the area.
Hiking: Hiking with pets is a favorite activity for many people in the summer. However, it can be harmful if dogs overheat in the hot summer sun. A dog’s normal temperature is about 101.5 and when a dog’s internal temperature reaches 105 or above, his or her life is in danger. A good way to tell if a dog is overheating without a thermometer is when their tongue hangs from the side of the mouth and is weighted at the end, as well as when they are panting excessively. To help avoid this, pack the same amount of cool water for a pet as yourself. If a pet begins to overheat, place them in the shade immediately and pour cool water onto the pads of their feet first and then continue over other parts of their body. Placing booties on their paws will also help keep them safe on the rough terrain and prevent their paw pads from burning.