Summer in the South brings lots of things we long for, long days of outdoor time, tons of sunshine (after so much rain this winter and spring) and holiday and vacation activities with family and friends. Of course, we want to include our pet in the family fun.
But is it really that much fun for them?
Here are a few tips to make sure:
1. Be cautious on walks. Early morning or late afternoon is best for more than a quick potty break walk. The summer sun heats up concrete walks, asphalt pavement, and even car vinyl car seats hot enough to burn paws. The general rule is: if it is too hot for your hand it is too hot for paws. Just test the surface before you take that walk. We treat burned pads but would rather not need to.
2. Pets often love a cool down from the water hose but if your hose has been lying in the sun, that water could be scalding hot. Let it run a few minutes before offering your pet or your plants a cool shower.
3. Noises from summer storms and fireworks can be terrifying to pets. Some just find their human and cuddle up, but others can become so scared they run away or destroy doors or furnishings trying to escape. Because our team is all Fear Free ™ Certified we can offer many solutions to help avoid the psychological trauma of these events. Talk to us about tools to calm your pet’s anxiety. We can make you a “comfort pack” to help in stressful times. Make sure you have your pet microchipped just in case they do run away. More than a million pets have been returned home because of microchips
4. Consider leaving them home. Street fairs, outdoor concerts, and running errands may seem to be places to include your pet. However, animal behaviorists have enlightened us that crowds, noises, odd unfamiliar smells, and other unknown animals all cause pets psychological distress.
It goes without saying to NEVER leave your pet in a car. It takes less than 5 minutes for temperatures to elevate to unsafe levels causing heat stroke or even death. Cracking the windows is NOT ENOUGH.
5. Visitors to your home may be a delight for you but to your pet they are strangers. Make sure your pets are happy to see visitors and if they are not the social butterfly type then educate your company on how to best become acquainted. Nothing puts the damper on a celebration like a child being bitten by a pet. Animals always show us their discomfort if we learn to read their body language. Remember a wagging tail is not always a happy sign, when the tail is low and moving the pet is unsure or uncomfortable.
Here are some signals of pet stress from the Fear Free Happy Homes team.
- Excessive barking
- Breaking housetraining
- Growling or snarling from a normally affectionate dog
- Snapping and even biting family members
- Unusual vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, or skin allergies
- Excessive grooming and even pulling out clumps of fur
- Destructive behavior such as chewing furniture and other items in the home
- Getting into trash cans
- If your cat is normally content on the couch but suddenly nowhere to be found, this should be cause for concern.
Make summer fun for all your family by following these simple ideas. If you need help, remember the team at Caring Hearts Animal Hospital is always here for you. Our team is all trained to focused on behavior and making pets very comfortable on their veterinary visits. We have lots of tips and tools to share. Contact us for more information.
We want you and your pets to have a healthy and safe summer full of fun!