Summer is fun time, but it can also be danger time for your pet. Here’s what to watch for:
9 SUMMER SAFETY TIPS FOR PETS
1. No alcoholic drinks where cats or dogs can reach them. Alcohol can cause pet comas, severe depression, and death.
2. No snacking on people party foods. Any new foods can make your pets sick. A number of people foods—such as onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, salt, and yeast dough—can be seriously toxic. For more information about people-food dangers, check with the ASPCA.
3. No sunscreen or insect repellent should ever be used on your pet unless it’s labelled for pets. Licking these products (on their fur) can make cats and dogs very ill. Insect repellents that contain DEET can cause neurological problems.
4. Matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles, insect coils, and tiki torch oil products are all toxic to pets. Ingestion can cause stomach irritation and depress the nervous system. If inhaled, the oils can cause aspiration pneumonia.
5. Never let pets drink pool or ocean water. Ocean water can lead to elevated sodium levels, which can cause nausea, tremors, and even seizures. Pool water can lead to low sodium levels, which can cause nausea, depression, unsteadiness, comas and seizures. Always have lots of fresh water at hand for drinking. If you notice any symptoms of illness, check with your vet.
6. Don’t let your pets play with ocean life (e.g., star fish, sea urchins, jelly fish, squid). Make sure your pets avoid dangerous currents by having them play only in shallow water.
7. Avoid algae. Ocean algae known as “red tides” can be toxic to sea life, humans, cats and dogs. Blue-green algae found in fresh water like lakes or ponds can cause serious problems that affect the liver and/or nervous system.
8. Practice pool safety.
• Don’t let your pet go swimming without a human present, in case of accidents or cramps.
• Don’t let your pet get into containers of pool chemicals; they can cause serious burns—both internally and externally.
9. Prevent heat stroke and dehydration.Your pets’ sweat glands are only on their foot pads—which is not nearly enough to protect them from literally dying from heat stroke. Never leave your pet unattended in a closed car (actually against the law in some states), especially during the summer months. Whenever possible, avoid hot sunny parks and hot sidewalks. Dogs should not be walked between the hours of 10AM and 2PM, the hottest hours of the day. If your dog or cat spends much time outside, be sure to provide her with a shady area and plenty of fresh water. Older animals, young puppies and kittens should be kept indoors as much as possible, preferably with an air conditioner on during the worst of the summer heat.
PREVENT PET RUNAWAY LOSS
Make sure that your pet’s identification tags and microchip information are up-to-date. One-in-five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noises. Learn more about how to protect your pet by downloading the ASPCA Mobile App.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Ashley W. Priddy, BVMS.