5 Summer Pet Care Tips | WUWM 89.7 FM

Summer is a great time to be a pet owner, but it also brings many challenges. Between walks and beach trips, fireworks and extreme heat, summer is full of hidden dangers. Stacy Oatman, media coordinator for the Wisconsin Humane Society, shares her tips on pet grooming this summer months.

1. Beat the heat.

“You want to make sure that you do as much preventative work as possible to make sure your pet doesn’t overheat,” says Oatman. These include walking dogs early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s less hot, making sure they have access to water outside, and taking breaks in the shade when walking.

You should also feel the sidewalk before going for a walk to make sure it isn’t too hot for a dog’s paws. Oatman explains, “If the patch is too hot for your hand, it’s definitely too hot for the pads of your paw.” Provide adequate water for pets indoors and use air conditioning or a fan if possible.

2. The pet has eaten something it shouldn’t.

In the spring and summer, pets can find baby animals, use their instincts, and swallow them whole. “For the most part, I’d say eating a wild animal like a rabbit or a bird … it would probably be fine, but it’s always a good idea to just consult your veterinarian,” says Oatman.

Plants can be more difficult to manage. Some common Wisconsin plants can be poisonous to animals and cause alarming symptoms.

“Some of these would be a croacus, azalea or rhododendron, fox glove, lily of the valley and lily of the valley … In some cases the entire plant will be poisonous to them, but in other cases it is just the seed or leaf that might be poisonous,” she explains. She says people should also avoid cocoa mulch as it has properties similar to chocolate. If you don’t know what your pet has been eating, contact a veterinarian and bring the plant with you to the appointment if possible.

3. Handling fireworks.

“The most important thing you can do is make sure your pet’s ID tags and microchips are up to date with your most current information,” says Oatman. Some animals have a tendency to flee when they hear loud, explosive noises.

It is important to keep animals in a safe space so that they are more comfortable. This can be a kennel or a box or a closed room in which they feel safe. Using other sounds like TV, music, or a fan can be a good way to mask the noise of fireworks. Thunder shirts or homeopathic remedies can also help pets calm down.

4. Swimming with dogs.

Dogs like to swim like humans. But just like humans, they have different swimming abilities. “Not all of these animals will swim well, and even those who do may not know how to get out of the pool or lake they are in,” says Oatman.

For these reasons, pets should always wear a life jacket. Bright colors can be especially helpful in bodies of water like a lake or stream. Staying in low-traffic and shallow waters can also help keep pets safe.

5. Dealing with insects.

Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes can be dangerous for pets. “These crawfish can carry tapeworms, heartworms, and diseases like calcareous disease, which obviously put your pet at serious risk,” says Oatman. Topical or oral, monthly medications can reduce the risk of these insects.

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