Humane Society: Top 10 tips to keep pets safe this summer
Posted May 29, 2010 3:09 p.m. EDT
Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of summer, and The Humane Society of the United States reminds people to start thinking about how the warm weather will impact pets.
Whether taking a walk, a drive or just hanging out in the backyard, there are extra precautions that people can take to keep their four-legged family members happy and safe:
- Never leave a pet unattended in the car on a warm or sunny day. Cars quickly heat up to a dangerous temperature, even with the window slightly open.
- Be sure to keep pets up-to-date on their vaccinations and preventative medications. Fleas and ticks stay busy in warm weather and summer is also the prime time for heartworms. Check with a veterinarian about the best way to keep pets healthy.
- Keep cats indoors to keep them safe. Cars, other pets and wild animals can all pose risks to cats' safety. By providing playtime, cat trees and other enrichment, a cat will be happy and content to stay indoors.
- Beware of cocoa mulch and other gardening products. Cocoa mulch can be deadly if ingested and has an appetizing scent to some animals. Pesticides, fertilizers and other harsh chemicals can also be quickly fatal if ingested.
- When taking a dog for a walk on a hot day, plan for shorter walks midday, when temperatures peak, and longer walks in the morning and evening when it's cooler. Hot sidewalks can burn the pads on a dog's paws, so walk on the grass when possible.
- Pet rabbits should be kept indoors because they don't tolerate heat well. Keeping a rabbit indoors will also provide protection from predators who might try to attack a rabbit in an outdoor hutch.
- Never leave a dog outdoors unattended on a chain or tether. Long-term chaining during the hot summer months can result in countless insect bites, dehydration and heat stroke. Even short-term unattended tethering can pose risks such as theft or attacks by people or animals.
- When driving with pets, be sure to keep them properly restrained and inside the vehicle. Special seatbelts and secured carriers can protect pets during accidents and prevent them from distracting the driver. The back of a pick-up truck is never a safe place for a pet to ride.
- Be mindful of pets around our wild neighbors. When going for walks or playing in a fenced yard, don't allow pets to harass birds, rabbits, squirrels or other wild animals.
- The summer months are the peak season for dog bites because so many kids and dogs are playing outside. Training, socialization and dog spaying or neutering a dog can reduce the risk of dog bites. Kids can learn to stay safe through good manners around pets and humane education.