Top Tips for Summer Fun and Safety for Pets

Summer is here! And it’s a great time for pet parents to have fun in the sun with their pets, but safety comes first. From fireworks to hydration to fleas & ticks, PetIQ’s Vice President of Medical Services, Dr. Sarah Cutler Tew, offers her top tips for pets to safely enjoy the dog days of summer.

Make sure your pet is microchipped and all information is correct and up to date

With so many pets joining their pet parents for vacations, road trips, and outdoor activities, it can be easy for them to wander away, or even sprint (I’m looking at you, squirrels!) or accidentally get loose in a strange place. The 4th of July holiday and summer events, in particular, see an increase in lost pets every year as they become scared of fireworks and become separated from their families or homes.

Microchipping is an easy, cost-effective way to reunite you with your pet. Pets that are found and brought to local shelters or veterinary clinics are often immediately scanned for a microchip, allowing pet parent contact information to be quickly displayed. Have your pet microchipped and ready for summer by visiting your local PetIQ Wellness Center or Community Clinic.

Prepare your pet for potentially stressful situations

As previously mentioned, many pets, especially dogs, become spooked or disoriented around fireworks and other loud noises, large crowds, and unfamiliar surroundings. While microchipping is an effective way to help reunite you with a lost pet, there are preventive measures you can take to prepare or calm your dog.

Pheromone collars, diffusers, and sprays have been proven to decrease stress behaviors and lower heart rate and can help your pet’s anxiety whether from summer trips, storms, or changes in schedules. Additional options include calming supplements, anti-nausea medications, and puzzles to provide distraction for our food-motivated best furry friends. Consult with a veterinarian on what approach is best for your pet.

Dr. Sarah Cutler Tew with her dogs
Dr. Sarah Cutler Tew enjoys nature with her dogs.

Keep your pet hydrated and protected from the heat

It’s no surprise that summer brings the heat as increasing temperatures can lead to dehydration, heatstroke and other serious conditions in pets. Keeping your pet’s bowl filled with clean, cool water at all times is especially important during hot weather. If you plan to spend time outside with your pet, bring water and a pet-friendly water bottle or bowl to ensure your pet has access to water. Limiting your pet’s exposure to extreme heat is very important throughout summer months to prevent illness and serious injuries to paws burned on hot sidewalks and pavements.

Test surfaces along your route with a bare hand before setting out, opt for morning or evening walks when air and pavement temperatures are cooler, find shady areas for your pet when exploring outside, and never, ever keeping your pet inside an enclosed vehicle unattended. Seek veterinary care right away if your pet is exhibiting signs of dehydration or heatstroke, including difficulty breathing, lethargy, reduced appetite, dry gums and nose, vomiting or drooling/foaming at the mouth, and increased heart rate.

Refrain from sharing “people” food or snacks with your pet

With BBQs, cookouts, picnics, and parties peaking during the summer season, it’s not unusual for pet parents or their guests to sneak delicious human treats to pets. However, this is not healthy for pets as many of the foods we eat are unsafe and downright toxic for pets.

While we think we may be offering a special snack for our pet and earning some extra pet parent points, we are in fact possibly harming our pets with foods that can cause not only digestive or even emergency health issues, but also behavioral and social issues as well. Though there are some people foods that pets may occasionally enjoy on a very limited basis, it’s wise to resist begging and stick to your pet’s routine diet. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods or treats to your pet.

Prevent fleas & ticks by treating your pet

While flea & tick season can vary by state, late spring, summer, and fall tend to represent the primary risk for many pets around the country due to warmer weather and pets’ increased exposure to the outdoors. For our pets in southern states, fleas and ticks never go out of season! Not only are these parasites an itchy nuisance, but they also carry multiple diseases and secondary parasites, like Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis and tapeworm.

The good news is fleas and ticks are treatable and even preventable with topical control products or oral preventive medications that contain ingredients to kill or repel the parasites before they become problematic for your pet. Not sure what medication is right for your pet? Visit one of our Wellness Centers or Community Clinics to consult with a veterinarian.

About PetIQ:
PetIQ is a leading pet medication and wellness company delivering a smarter way for pet parents to help their pets live their best lives through convenient access to affordable veterinary products and services. The Company engages with customers through more than 60,000 points of distribution across retail and e-commerce channels with its branded and distributed medications as well as health and wellness items, which are further supported by its world-class medications manufacturing facility in Omaha, Nebraska and health and wellness manufacturing facility in Springville, Utah. The Company’s national service platform operates in over 2,600 retail partner locations in 41 states providing cost effective and convenient veterinary wellness services. PetIQ believes that pets are an important part of the family and deserve the best products and care we can give them.

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