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Summer Pet Safety Tips

Posted by: Mira Roberts

Our pets love to get outdoors as much as we do, and the Summer months create perfect conditions for long walks, romps in the bark park and hikes at nearby trails. Summer months in Coastal Virginia can also be extremely hot and humid, with temperatures reaching into the upper 90s by mid-July. It's important to take proper precautions with your pets during these steamy months, to keep them healthy and safe.

Our pets are just as susceptible to dangerous conditions like heat stroke and dehydration as we are, and since they don't sweat and often carry furry coats on their bodies, they are at an even higher risk. Before you head outdoors for long walks or plan an afternoon at the bark park with pup friends, make sure that your pup is properly hydrated and that conditions are safe for him to be outside for long periods of time. You will always want to avoid leaving your pet inside a hot car for even a minute or two, and try to avoid walking him on hot sidewalks or asphalt.

There are several things you can do to keep your pet safe this Summer, so that you can get out and enjoy this beautiful season without putting your dog or cat in harm's way. Here are pet safety tips designed to keep your pet properly hydrated, cool and comfortable, all season long.

Water, Water and More Water
Keeping your dog and cat properly hydrated through the Summer months is one of the first and most important ways to keep them cool and healthy. For dogs, the only way they have to cool down is through panting and drinking, so fresh drinking water is a must. Make sure to keep your dog's water bowl filled with fresh, cool water at all times. If you head out for a walk, bring a bottle of water and a bowl, and make sure to stop and hydrate your pup as you go. If you're out for any long period of time, make sure to stop for water, and don't assume that your pup is hydrated just because they drank at home before you left.

Stay Away From Hot Sidewalks
Your pet's paws are susceptible to hot sidewalks, asphalt and metal, and these surfaces can burn them if hot enough. On particularly hot days, walk your dog through the grass instead of the sidewalk, and try to avoid walking through hot parking lots or on hot, steamy roads. Stick to grassy, shaded areas as much as possible to protect their paws from painful burns.

Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car
While you've probably heard this many times before, it's always important to remember that pets can become dangerously ill with heatstroke and suffocate within minutes of being inside a hot car. On hot days, we recommend keeping your pet indoors as much as possible. If you have to take a car ride, take proper precautions by cooling the car down before you and your pet enter, and taking your pet with you every single time you leave the car. 

Keep Your Dog on Leash
Part of the beauty of Summer is that it makes is possible to head out and explore new terrain, parks and trails with your pup. While we don't want to discourage you from heading out on adventures, it is important to remember to keep your pup on leash at all times (unless properly fenced in). While your pup may generally be good at staying beside you without his or her leash, in new environments, they can become spooked or curious and run off. More animals are lost during the Summer months than any other time of year, so keep your pup on leash and keep them safe. 

Stick to Shade
Whenever you and your best friend take off on outdoor adventures, try to seek shade as much as possible. If you plan to spend the day at a family picnic, find shade and keep a cool bowl of water underneath to keep your pup hydrated. On super hot days, even shady spots can be too warm for your pup, so use your discretion and remember--if it feels hot to you, it's probably too hot for your pet.

Some Dogs Sunburn
Dogs with short coats or light colored coats can sunburn, leaving your pet at risk for skin cancer and a lot of pain. The sun is at its highest from 10 am to 4 pm, so try to avoid taking your short haired pup out for walks in direct sunlight during those hours. If possible, take your pup out for walks or jogs, first thing in the morning or at sundown, and take advantage of cooler temps and less powerful sunshine.

Keep Up with Flea and Tick Medications
In Summer, ticks and fleas can be menacing for pets, and it becomes increasingly important to keep your pup up to date on their preventative flea and tick medications. Remember that a tick bite can put your pup at risk for diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Moutain Spotted Fever, both painful diseases that are difficult to treat.

We wish all of our four-legged residents a healthy and safe Summer season at Commonwealth at York! 

About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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