Summer safety tips for animal companions

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The summer is in full swing. ‘Tis the season for family road trips, sunny days at the beach, and long weekend celebrations. If you share your life with a four-legged companion, he’s likely to partake in many of these festivities with you – and that means taking steps to ensure he stays safe and healthy through it all! Here’s a few helpful tips from the ASPCA:

1. Download the ASPCA Pet Safety app

The more time spent outdoors, the greater the risk of a pet escaping outside and getting lost. The ASPCA Pet Safety App, which is free on iPhone and Android, was developed to help pet parents create missing pet posters and find their furry friends, as well as learn about disaster preparedness, and track and store a pet’s medical information. The ASPCA has marked July 1 as National ID Your Pet Day, so take this time to make sure your pet has a personal ID tag and microchip with up-to-date contact information.

2. Fireworks and party smarts

Enjoy your backyard barbeque, but remember that the food and drinks you serve your friends can be poisonous to your pets. Never ignite fireworks around pets and don’t leave them around unused fireworks, as they often contain potentially toxic substances, and can also result in serious burns or trauma. If you’re headed out for the 4th of July, your pet will be much happier and safer at home.

3. Keep cool and spot the symptoms

Dogs and cats can get dehydrated quickly, so it’s important to ensure that they have access to plenty of water, somewhere shady to beat the heat, and that they don’t stand too long on hot asphalt surfaces. Symptoms of overheating in pets can include increased heart and respiratory rates, drooling, and excessive panting. Particularly at-risk populations include animals with flatter faces (such as pugs, bulldogs, and Persian cats), elderly or overweight pets, and animals with previous heart or lung conditions.

4. Pest-free pets

Commonly used flea, tick, mouse, and rat products, as well as some insecticides and lawn products, can be harmful to cats and dogs, so keep them out of reach and be sure to read and follow all instructions carefully.

5. Splash safely

Not all dogs are good swimmers, so do not leave dogs unsupervised near a pool. Be sure to minimize their exposure to chlorine and other chemicals by preventing them from drinking pool water and rinsing their fur after swimming. And don’t forget his doggie lifejacket!

6. Beware of “high-rise syndrome”

Keep all unscreened windows and doors in your home closed, and be sure that all adjustable screens are tightly secured to prevent pets from falling and being seriously or fatally injured.

7. Visit the vet

It’s important for pets to visit the vet every spring or early summer for a checkup to ensure they are up-to-date on testing and medications, particularly for heartworm, which can be transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Visit animalwellnessmagazine.com/fourth-of-july-dangers-and-safety-tips-for-pets or aspca.org/news/pet-safety-tips-happy-healthy-fourth-july for more tips!