July 2, 2024

 

Pet Safety Tips During the Summer

As you head on your outdoor adventures this summer, consider your pet’s safety as well!

Many of us consider our pets to be another member of the family. So, when it comes to safety, we can’t forget to think about our beloved animal companions. Keeping your family safe is a year-round task, but the summer season offers unique activities and situations to keep in mind. Before you and your pet(s) venture outside and enjoy the weather, consider these tips.

Safety starts with being aware and prepared!

Just as you might keep a first aid kit around for emergencies when traveling (or maybe a few band-aids in the glovebox), consider keeping a first aid kit for your furry friend! A first aid kit can come in handy in emergency situations and provide you with peace of mind. Here are a few items to consider as you stock your kit:

  • Spare leash/collar/harness/litterbox/can opener (if your pet eats canned food)
  • Collapsible water bowl
  • Bottled water to treat heatstroke or wash off toxins
  • Gauze for wounds and adhesive medical tape
  • Tweezers to remove foreign objects such as glass or ticks
  • Food/Treats to distract your pet
  • Important phone numbers and records (e.g., vet, emergency clinic, list of medications, etc.)

Consider the environment or activity.

When you head to the beach, you put on sunscreen. When you climb into a canoe, you strap into a life jacket. When you head on your outdoor adventures this summer, consider your pet’s safety as well!

If you have a water loving companion, consider purchasing a life jacket for them when boating or engaging in any water-based activity. Even if your dog is the next Michael Phelps, strong swimmers can still get fatigued, experience hypothermia or get caught in a current. A brightly colored life jacket will make your dog easier to spot in an emergency.

Love exploring the city with your dog or hiking to incredible views? They may love it too, but their paws may not. Scorching surfaces (like pavement) can cause discomfort, blisters, and burn a dog’s paw pads. This is especially true for puppies, who have sensitive young paws. According to the American Kennel Club, when the outside temperature is 86°F, the asphalt temperature registers 135°F —wow, that is hot!

Temperature test: To determine if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk on, place your hand (or bare foot) comfortably on the pavement for 10 seconds. If it is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pooch’s paws. Try taking your dog on a walk in the early morning or late evening, when the ground has cooled and choose grassy or shady areas.

Safety is cool, heatstroke is not.

Burnt paws are not the only thing to be on the lookout for during hotter months. When dogs and cats are unable to regulate their body temperature, they begin to suffer from heatstroke. This generally happens when their body temperature is above 105°F.

Take precautions to protect your pets from heatstroke by always ensuring they have access to shade and water. Watch out for signs of heatstroke such as, heavy panting/difficulty breathing, fast heart rate, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or disorientation and reddened gums or tongue.

If your pet is exhibiting signs of heat stroke:

  1. Move your pet out of direct heat to a shaded area,
  2. Check for shock and take your pet’s temperature,
  3. If their temperature is 104°F or higher, begin cooling them down by spraying cool (not cold to avoid shock) water, fanning, and placing cool, water-soaked towels around (not over) your pet’s head, neck, feet, chest, and abdomen,
  4. Take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital.

 

If you’re worried about memorizing these steps, the American Red Cross offers a free Pet First Aid mobile app that provides veterinary advice for a variety of emergencies as well as everyday pet care.

 

More pets go missing during the July 4th weekend than any other time of year.

With Independence Day around the corner, we would be remiss if we did not express the importance of keeping pets safe during this patriotic holiday. Consider putting an Airtag on your pet’s collar in case they get lost.  Check out other tips from the ASPCA on keeping your pet safe this Fourth of July.

 

Additional Resources:

This Week's Recipe from the American Heart Association

Mini Meatloaves with Low-Fat Creamed Spinach
Kayla Hsu

Authored By

Kayla Hsu, MPH, CHES®

Kinetiq Health Program Manager

As a Kinetiq Health Program Manager, Kayla provides businesses with customized health and wellness solutions to better manage and improve the overall health and well-being of their employees.

Meet Kayla