Pet Safety Tips – throughout the Seasons

Even though we care about your pets, it doesn’t mean that we want to see them in need of our care. Here are some great safety tips on how to avoid our emergency room and keep your pets safe all year long. For more information on pet safety tips, please visit Veterinary Partners.

Hot Weather

  • Never leave your pet in the car
    It may seem like a car trip will cool off your pet, but it will probably do more harm than good. The sun can raise the temperature in the car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes.
  • Pets, like humans, need extra water
    Whether you’re indoors or out, both you and your pet need access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so check water bowls several times a day to be sure it’s full. If you go outside, be sure to bring plenty of water for both of you.
  • Keep a close eye on them
    If they’re extra thirsty, pets are bound to drink something they shouldn’t drink. Puddles of what looks like water may be on the ground, but they may include antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals. Did you know that antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like? But watch out. It can be toxic.
  • Pets need sunscreen
    Your pet can get sunburned, just like you! Especially if he or she has light colored hair. Animal sunburns can cause some of the same problems as with people: pain, peeling, and skin cancer. Keep your pet out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When you do go outside, rub a bit of pet safe sunblock on unprotected areas like the tips of the ears, the skin around the lips, and the tip of the nose. Some sunblock can be dangerous to your pets. A rule of thumb: If it’s safe for babies, it’s safe for your pets.
  • Watch the exercise
  • Don’t overdo it in the heat. Keep walks to a gentle pace. If your pet is panting a lot or seems exhausted, it’s time to stop.
  • Inside is better than Outside
    Even if they’re in the shade, animals can get sick quickly on hot days. Keep them inside as much as possible. If you have to leave them outside, check on them regularly.
  • Watch for Heatstroke
    It can be fatal. If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, call a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, lower the animal’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after only a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. With this in mind, remember that it is imperative to get the animal to a veterinarian immediately.

Signs of Heatstroke:

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

Cold Weather

A fur coat does not ensure warmth! Hypothermia and dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather. Make sure your pet is indoors or in covered shelter, with plenty of food and water. Blankets or thick towels, even an old quilt will give your animal something to snuggle in against the cold. If you cannot bring your animal inside, check on him or her regularly.

Animals drink less in cold weather, so it’s important to make sure your pet is getting hydrated. Be sure your pet’s water supply does not freeze. Very young and older animals need special attention during the cold. Their immune systems can’t handle the weather as well as other pets. Be aware that some chemicals used to melt snow are hazardous to your pet! Keep a close eye on them when they’re outside, and be sure to clean off their feet when they come back inside. That way, they won’t lick their feet and ingest any toxic residue. Call your vet immediately with any health concerns.

Hiking & Walking in Nature

  • Make sure your pet has a clean bill of health
  • Apply a flea & tick repellant
  • Map out your journey: beware of sharp rocks, steep slopes, hot sand, surf with undertow
  • Provide plenty of water. An average, healthy, resting 100 lb. dog requires about 3 liters a day. That may double if he’s exercising. Ocean water is not recommended.
  • Keep an eye on your dog. Is he showing signs of heat exhaustion? They are: excessive panting, difficulty breathing, lack of urination, brick red gums, staggering, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you are nowhere near help, immerse your pet in cool water and rest in a shady area.
  • Don’t share pain medication with your pet. Anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin can have toxic effects on their livers, gastrointestinal systems, and kidneys.