Aside from the common and obvious things to avoid in the summer — like hot cars or hot pavement — there are some other safety concerns that are equally as important for your pets. As activities change and routines differ, make sure you use caution when involving your pets in your family’s summer fun.
The majority of dogs can swim as soon as they hit the water, thanks to their natural instincts. However, not all dogs can swim, and even those that can may still panic if they are unfamiliar with being submerged in water. It is just as important to watch your dogs around water as it is with children. Even dogs familiar with water have the potential to drown. Small dogs that are unable to get out of pools on their own are at a greater danger of drowning than larger dogs.
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Some minor consequences of frequent swimming can include ear infections and dry skin. Ear cleaning products are available at pet supply stores or through your veterinarian if ear infections are a problem or if your pet plans to spend a lot of time in the water.
In natural bodies of water, be sure you are familiar with the area and your pet is able to get out easily if needed. Don’t let your pets go too far out in any body of water as they may get tired or disoriented. Beware of debris in the water, of rocky areas or fast currents which could catch your pet off guard.
If a road trip is on the agenda for your four-legged family member, consider investing in a seat belt or restraint for your pet — or keep your furry friend in its crate while you travel. Dogs and cats moving around the car can be a distraction and a danger to drivers. In addition, if you do suffer the misfortune of a car accident, your pet will fare much better if properly restrained.
Consider taking your pet for a wellness check-up before going on any long trips, especially if your trip involves unfamiliar situations like air travel. Traveling can be stressful for pets and you’ll want to be sure they are healthy enough to endure the trip. Bring health histories, vaccination records and your veterinarian’s phone number with you just in case the need arises.
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Always keep your pet on a leash in unfamiliar situations or areas, even if you have a well-behaved animal. New people and situations may spook even a calm, well-behaved dog. In addition, you may be unfamiliar with other animals, people or environmental elements in the area that could harm your pet.
Never leave your pet alone at your campsite. Wild animals, changes in weather or just the unfamiliar situation in general could cause anxiety for your pet that may lead to self-injury, or worse yet — getting loose and escaping into the wilderness.
Be mindful of wild animals or bugs in the area that may cause harm to your dog. Summer is flea and tick season as well as mosquito season. Snakes, skunks and other creatures are likely to be present on camping trips as well, so be sure to keep an eye on curious pets.
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Consider purchasing some calming treats or lavender oil to take with you during travel just in case your dog gets anxious. A dab of oil on the top of your pooch’s head can help relieve travel stress.