For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is officially here! While you may not exactly be having your typical summer, there are still things it’s important to keep in mind in order to stay safe as you adventure with your pup when the weather warms up. (If you’re just now starting to venture out into the world after isolating due to COVID-19, take a look at our safety post specifically about that topic before you read on!)
Pet Fire Safety
July 15 is Pet Fire Safety Day, and now is a great time to review your fire safety plan to make sure you’re set! We’ve talked about emergency preparedness generally, but what does that mean for fire safety? The ASPCA offers a number of helpful tips. Key among them:
- Make sure you’ve got a plan for how you and your pets will leave your home safely in case of a fire. And then practice the steps of that plan! You may feel silly having fire drills, but the more often you practice, the more second nature your plan will become.
- Consider monitored smoke detectors if you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, and have a pet rescue sticker in the window so those responding know there are pets in the home.
- Pet proof your home to make sure they aren’t the cause of the fire you’re trying to keep them safe from!
Fourth of July
This can be a difficult holiday for dogs who are sensitive to the sound and smells of fireworks. There are lots of resources out there to help you help your canine companion through a potentially stressful day. Check out some posts from Happy Harness inventor Joan Hunter Mayer’s Inquisitive Canine training blog for more details:
In general, remember that it’s best not to take your dog with you if you are going to a fireworks display this Fourth of July. They won’t enjoy it as much as you will, and many dogs will actively dislike the experience! This is also a day on which a disproportionate number of dogs go missing due to attempts to flee from the loud booms. If you are going out, ask a friend to come stay with your pooch to help comfort them if they get scared, or bring the dog to a friend’s house so they won’t be alone. Regardless of your arrangements, make sure your dog has a collar with tags bearing your current contact information, and that the information associated with your dog’s microchip is also up to date.
If you’re hunkering down at home, have some white noise ready to help drown out the noise of fireworks or other celebrations in your neighborhood. And remember that, if your dog has a severe phobia of fireworks or any other sound, a certified professional dog trainer can help you work through this problem, so that next year is a breeze.
Other Summer Safety Issues
While being out in nature as the weather heats up is a joy for many of us, it does bring some additional dangers.
Foxtail, a kind of grass common in many parts of the U.S., bears seed heads that can lodge in a dog’s eyes, ears, nose or mouth, and even directly into the skin. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, trails may not be as well maintained as usual, making foxtail grass more likely to be an issue (along with other plants that might cause issues for you or your dog, like poison ivy).
Heat stroke can happen at any time of year, but becomes more likely the warmer it is outside, of course. PetMD offers useful information about recognizing and dealing with this potentially life-threatening condition in our dogs.
Fleas and ticks are a year-round issue in some areas, but definitely become more prevalent in the warmer months. The ASPCA offers this helpful article about handling these six-legged visitors.
Have Fun! Just Be Safe Too
We don’t want you to think, based on all of this, that staying cooped up indoors is the only way to spend the summer! Adventuring with your dog is one of the greatest joys of the temperate weather, so please do it (while following local leash laws, as well as ordinances regarding social distancing, of course). Just keep these things in mind so everyone, human and canine, has a safe and happy summer season.
Here’s to unleashing adventures and harnessing fun!