7 summer safety tips for pets

Cover the basics

Secure an up-to-date tag on your pet's collar, and make sure to use a leash when you head outdoors.  Consult your veterinarian for flea and tick control options, and always keep your pet's vaccinations current.  If you go to the dog parks in Chicago, you will need to purchase a dog park tag for each pet.

Be wary around water

Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so watch your pooch when you're near the pool, beach or lake.  On trips to the ocean, make sure your pets don't drink the salt wateras it upsets their stomach, just like yours. Remember to watch those currents, even the best paddling dog can struggle against a mean undertow.

Keep cool

Schedule walks in the early morning or evening; dog paws hate hot pavement.  You can also make dog exercise sessions safe by stopping for drinks of fresh water and finding shady spots for necessary panting breaks.  Some pet owners also help prevent overheating with short fur shaves for cats and dogs in the summer.

Watch for warning signs

Heat stroke is an issue for pets, too.  Be on the lookout for early symptoms such as:

  • Excessive panting             
  • Drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Weakness
  • Balance problems
  • Labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

You can cool down an overheated pet with cold water or towels, and by offering ice chips or small bowls of water.  Call your veterinarian immediately if these signs continue.

Safely see the sights

Taking your pets for a ride in the care or minivan? Never leave them inside - windows up or down- on hot days.  Keep dogs' heads in the car while driving.  Inner ear damage, lung infections and injury happen when man's best friend sticks his head out the window.  Buckle up your dog with a harness or seat belt, and never let dogs ride in the back of trucks.  A crate in the truck bed keeps dogs from bouncing out in an accident or being hit with debris on the road.

Party with prudence

Be wary of what your cats and dogs can get into when you celebrate.  Chocolate, raisins and onions can be bad for dogs and cats. (Click here for a complete list.)  If your pets get anxious or fearful around fireworks, big crowds and noisy gatherings, keep them away from the parties, sparklers and outdoor festivals.  


Protect against pets and poisons

Fleas, ticks mosquitoes, and more seem to be everywhere in the summer, so consult with your veterinarian on the best preventatives to use for your pets' lifestyle.  Also, keep your animals off areas sprayed with chemicals or insecticides, and always store fertilizers and other poisonous substances out of their reach.  Click here for more information on garden toxins.