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Summer Heat and Other Pet Threats!

Summer is a great time for getting out and enjoying the outdoors. And taking our pet along can make it just that much better – provided you use a little extra caution.

The word “extra” is worth remembering. While we humans usually (but not always!) detect changes in our environment that can be dangerous, bets often don’t realize a street is not the same as a hallway, or a snake is not the same as a leather belt.

Actually, many pets are surprisingly adept at new environments. Part of this is no doubt due to instinctive caution an aversion to factors they just don’t like: loud traffic helps keep many stray pets out of harm’s way.

Don’t Assume

But sometimes our pets either can’t help themselves or are oblivious to a seemingly insignificant threat. One of the best examples is also one of the most serious: ticks.

Because of the diseases they can carry, ticks are far more serious than their size would indicate. Although they can be heavy on the “yuck” factor, tick-born diseases are serious for dogs and cats just as they are for human. Mosquitoes also fall into this category.

We won’t go into details for these or other pests, but if you are in an area or plan to visit an area where ticks or mosquitoes are prevalent, consider doing a little research. And don’t simply use your bug spray for people on your dog, cat or other pet. Many popular repellents can be toxic to pets.

Be Creative

A bit of creativity can help. If you have a particularly longhaired pet, consider grooming before venturing into tick territory as longhair can make finding a tick more difficult. In some cases, you may want to avoid grassy or brushy areas (that tend to harbor ticks) or damp, swampy areas (that breed mosquitoes).

Dehydration and heat stroke are serious threats that many pet owners under estimate. Jogging with dogs is increasingly popular, but many runners may not realize that they are better adapted to running in hot summer weather than their canine friends. Humans can cool themselves by sweating over their entire body while pets can only “sweat” by panting. Hot and rough sidewalks can also cause serious problems to dog feet. Keep these in mind when planning a long run in hot weather.

A related threat is dehydration. If you’re out and become thirsty, your pet probably is too. And if you leave your pet outdoors, be absolutely sure he or she has access to fresh water. Always.

Keep Vacations Fun

Taking a pet on vacation can be especially fun, but it takes even more planning and care than normal. If you’re traveling far, and especially if you’re traveling to a new environment, be alert to dangers for you and your pet. Everyone’s heard about scorpions, but unless you’re lived in the Southwest you may underestimate their potentially fatal sting. Walking near open water can be peaceful, unless you’re in Florida and the water is home to alligators.

It can be difficult to get good info on a distant vacation destination, but take time to investigate and take any necessary precautions.