Ah, summer. It’s that time of year that means long, sunny days, warm evenings and lots of outdoor time for you and your pets. However, as all pet owners know, caring for our furry friends isn’t quite the same as looking after yourself.
Wondering how to best keep your pets safe and comfortable during the summer season? Wonder no more – we’ve pulled together our top ten pet care tips to help you be a great owner!
1. Don’t leave your pet alone in hot cars
We call pets our fur babies, and we really should be treating them like human babies, especially when thinking of leaving them alone in cars during summer.
Try to avoid leaving your pets in cars while running your errands – even with the windows down and air conditioning on, pets can overheat in cars in as little as 5 minutes. Instead, leave them at home where possible, ensuring they have access to cool shade.
If leaving them home alone is not an option, consider bringing them with you – many cafes and shopping centres now have pet friendly options – or ask a friend or neighbour to pet sit for a few hours. That may help bring a smile to their face too!
2. Provide plenty of water
During the summer months pets are at an increased risk of overheating and dehydration. To avoid this, make sure to give your pet access to plenty of clean and fresh water. This could include leaving multiple bowls of water out, in shaded locations.
To help keep their water cool throughout the day, try freezing half a bowl of water overnight so it melts throughout the day.
3. Schedule a vet visit
If you’re like many Aussies and are planning a road trip this summer, make sure your pet is fully vaccinated and has their tick and worming treatments up to date before you leave.
Even if you’re not planning a trip, a pre-summer check up is a worthwhile safeguard. Mosquitoes, ticks and other parasites thrive during the summer months and there’s always a risk of coming across unvaccinated animals on your regular walks.
4. Protect their feet!
When walking your pet outside, remember that they don’t have shoes like we do! The ground can get very hot and burn their paws. Make sure to walk in the shade as much as possible and try to avoid prolonged exposure to pavements as they can become much hotter than you expect.
5. Don’t shave your pet’s coat
Many people get a haircut in summer. It’s too hot for long hair and you feel lighter and cooler without it. While it may seem like the obvious thing to do to your pets too, shaving your pet’s furry coat actually isn’t advisable. Not only does a long coat keep your animal cool, it also protects them from sunburns.
If you do think your pet would benefit from shorter hair – take them to a trusted pet groomer who’ll be able to provide the right advice for your pet’s breed.
6. Bring a life-jacket out on the open water
Everyone loves to bring their pet out on a boat for a fishing trip or cruise around the water. Your furry friends might be good swimmers in your home pool but the open water is a different story. They might get caught in dangerous currents or tides, so bring a pet-sized life vest for them for extra safety.
7. Don’t let your pets snack on leftovers
Many of the common foods and drinks served at barbeques are harmful, and sometimes even poisonous, for animals. The RSPCA has a useful list of foods toxic to animals.
You may be surprised to see alcohol, cooked bones and stone fruits on the list. While it may seem like you’re sharing your favourite foods, stick to your pet’s regular diet to avoid digestive problems and potential choking hazards.
8. Time your walks
This is an easy one! Just as we don’t love walking outside in the middle of the day during summer, the higher temperatures have an even greater impact on our pets. Walking and playing with them in the morning or the evening when temperatures are lower is recommended. It’ll also help your pet stay active, without overheating or becoming excessively dehydrated.
9. Recognise the signs of heat stroke
If your pet starts panting heavily, appears dizzy, vomits, drools and salivates excessively or loses consciousness, it is likely they are undergoing heat stroke. If you notice any of these signs, take your pet indoors, try to cool it down and contact a vet immediately.
Keep in mind that very young and old pets are more vulnerable to heat stroke – so be especially careful if you got a new puppy over the holidays!
10. Pet-safe sunscreen
Did you know you can also apply sunscreen on your furry friends? This is especially effective and recommended for pets with short hair with white or pink skin. With more and more pet-specific sunscreens becoming available, it’s definitely worth investigating, especially if your dog loves the beach as much as you do.
At MediPay, we care just as much about your pets as we care about you. Emergency pet visits are never pleasant, and they consistently spike over summer. Check if you’re eligible for our payment plans for your vet bills with our Eligibility Check today and get some peace of mind!