Summer has finally arrived in Toronto and, with it, the heat! Despite any grumbling, it can be fairly simple for us humans to stay cool in the summer. Thanks to the gift of opposable thumbs, we have choices – we can turn on the air conditioning in our homes and cars, change our clothes, or alter our activities to be more comfortable. For Toronto dogs and cats, it is much more difficult to adjust to the heat. Even when we find that we are uncomfortably warm and there is no option for air conditioning, our bodies help us to cool down by sweating. Our pets are not as fortunate; not only are they wearing fur, but their ability to sweat is limited to their paws and an open-mouthed pant. Summer safety is our responsibility. While heat is the main cause for extra pet safety precautions in the summer, just staying out of the sun will not guarantee a safe pet. Here is how you can help your dog and cat stay safe this summer:
Keeping Pets Safe Outdoors
- Pets should never ever be left in a car alone. Just do not do it. Please.
- Clean, fresh water should always be accessible. Warmer temperatures cause water to evaporate more quickly, so check their water bowl more often.
- If outside, pets need to have access to shade. Remember, just because a specific location is shady at 11 a.m., it does not mean it will be shady at 1 p.m.!
- Protect your pets against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other pests.
Keeping Pets Safe Indoors
- Again, ensure that clean, fresh, water should always be accessible.
- If not air conditioned, homes should use fans and opened windows for circulation.
- Open windows and doors should have screens to keep your pet from getting out without your knowledge. Strictly indoor kitties may be drawn to the breeze, but would not know how to survive on the street, so be extra vigilant with them.
Summer Safety for Cats
- Know where your cat is before shutting doors to sheds, garages, car doors, etc. You would not want them to be trapped somewhere hot!
- When possible, keep your kitty indoors during the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm). This helps to ensure that they will not get caught somewhere similar where you are not there to watch out for them.
Summer Safety for Dogs
- Walk and exercise dogs in the morning and evening to avoid the full heat of the sun.
- Check pavement with the back of your hand to determine if it’s too hot for dog paws. Burns hurt!
- Carry extra water for long walks and/or particularly hot days.
- Know the signs of when your dog is too hot and is in distress. Act quickly and take appropriate action.
Before you go…Want to capture all the summer time fun with your pup and kitty? Sign up here for the Tips for Taking Drool-Worthy Pictures of Your Pet With Your Phone – a free pdf showing how to work with your phone to get great imagery. Have fun out there!
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