As the weather warms up and you and your family get ready for the hot summer months ahead, don’t forget about your furry friends! Pets need TLC as the temperatures increase, and it’s important to know how to help them prepare for the seasonal changes so that your whole family can enjoy the warm spring and summer days to their fullest. Here are a few tips for pet parents about how to make sure Fido and Fluffy are set for spring.
1. Hydrate! Dogs need to stay hydrated while running around or going on hikes. This is true any time of the year, but is especially vital as temperatures start to rise. Make sure to always carry a fresh water supply for your four-legged friend wherever you go, and replenish his or her water dish at home frequently.
2. Keep them Home When It’s Hot: Running around in 95 degrees isn’t the best activity for your pet, as it can cause them to develop heat stroke. Brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs and pugs are especially susceptible to heat, and can develop heat stroke in temperatures as low as 65 degrees if they are in direct sunlight. Use your best judgement when taking your pets outdoors, and NEVER leave them in a car on even a warm day, as this can be fatal.
3. Summer Haircuts: Imagine what it would feel like to wear a heavy fur coat in the heat of summer, all while running around at a park. For your shaggy-coated dog, this is reality. If your dog has a thick, heavy coat, consider a more streamlined cut for the warmer months next time you’re at the groomer. Your pup will thank you!
4. Make Sure Vaccines are Up to Date: The warm spring and summer months mean that your pets have more opportunity to spend time outdoors. While fresh air and exercise are always ideal for both you and your pet, it’s important to make sure their vaccines are all up to date before hitting the dog park or letting your cat outside. Common parasites can be transmitted from dog to dog while they frolic and play together, and of course it is never a good idea to bring a dog with an expired rabies vaccine tag to an off-leash area. Get it taken care of ASAP so you don’t have to spend a beautiful spring Saturday at the vet.
5. Heartworm Prevention: Any dogs who spend ample amounts of time outdoors are at risk of developing heartworm from a mosquito bite. Heartworm is extremely lethal and in many cases fatal to pets. Luckily, heartworm prevention is as simple as a single pill once a month. These pills, which are chewable and often very enjoyable to pets, are available through your vet after an initial heartworm test comes back negative.
6. Consider Bordatella Vaccine: While you’re at it, ask your vet about the bordatella vaccine. This shot is a requirement for any pet who is going to be spending any time at a boarding facility, kennel or doggie daycare. If you and your family are making plans to take a summer vacation and will be boarding your pets, this is one vaccine they need to have up to date. It expires every six months, so make sure to keep on top of it.
7. Food Issues: With spring and summer comes backyard barbecue season! Though your garden party or family cookout is guaranteed fun for all the human family members, keep in mind that your pets are at risk of eating foods that are not good for them. Keep an eye out for accidental ingestion of foods that are harmful to dogs, such as chocolate or grapes, and kindly remind all well-meaning barbecue guests that too much “people food” is bad for your dog’s digestive system, and politely ask them to refrain from feeding them pieces of cheese, hot dogs or any other potentially dangerous food items.
Keep these tips in mind. If you follow these tips, you and your pets will both have the best spring and summer ever!
Have any tips for keeping your pets happy in the warmer months? Leave a comment!