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Summer Safety Tips for Pets

shutterstock_206787709The Arizona heat is bearing down upon us with full force, so it’s important to take time to review some of the different aspects of summer safety you’ll need to incorporate into your regular routine. 

Minimize Outdoor Time: Very few of us are built to withstand the extreme temperatures we usually experience during an Arizona summer, and pets can be most vulnerable of all. Make sure you keep your pets inside whenever possible, especially during the daytime. 

Access to Water & Shade: Make sure your pets have access to plenty of fresh water and shade areas when they are outdoors. Consider purchasing an elevated pet bed/loungers with a sun shade that can help keep vulnerable pets from lying on the hot pavement, so they stay cooler.

Beware of Swimming Pools: The temptation of sparkling water can be deadly for children and animals, so it’s always critical to keep a close eye on everyone around water. Make sure to pool-proof your pets by teaching them how to swim to the stairs or find the edge. Childproof fencing is a must if you have small children, but can also help keep pets safer, too.

Going Bye Bye in the Car: One of the benefits of mild winter days is taking our pets along for the ride when we run errands. During the summer months, it’s safest to leave pets at home. NEVER leave a child or a pet in the car, even for ‘just a few minutes.’ Temperatures can rise to deadly levels very quickly inside a vehicle, even in the shade. 

Protect the Paws: If you can’t stand on the sidewalk comfortably in bare feet, then neither can your pet! During summer months, take walks early in the morning when it’s cooler, or later in the evening after the cement has had time to cool down. There are also wonderful protective pet shoe options for pets of all sizes. While pets will need to adjust to the strange sensation of not only wearing shoes, but also walking in them, they can help prevent severe burns on tender paws and pads that will require veterinary care.

Remember the Sunscreen: Even pets can get sunburned or develop skin cancer, so it’s important to take some precautions. Breeds like Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers are very vulnerable to sunburn and possible skin cancers. Any cats that have white ears, eyelids and noses should be protected as well. Severe burns may also cause skin infections. Look for pet safe products that contain NO ZINC OXIDE (a common ingredient in many sunscreens) – it’s toxic to animals.

Barbecue Grill Safety: There’s nothing quite so summery-delicious as food cooked outdoors on the grill, but remember your pets will be sniffing around with interest, too! Make sure they’re kept at a safe distance so they don’t get burned or worse, knock over the grill. Be careful of scraps and trash – they can cause some serious gastrointestinal problems in pets. Watch out for meat drippings as well, as your pet could burn their mouth, or develop vomiting, diarrhea or pancreatitis. Don’t give your pet cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause damage to the stomach and intestines, or even death.

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