Billings_iStock_000013380754_LargeMontana remains a truly wild place – that’s why we love it here. Your pet (being a little wild, as well) likely loves nature, too, and the adventures waiting in the great backyard or beyond the fenceline. However, it’s always good to temper all that excitement with some caution. As we approach the long, lazy days of summer, we recommend the following summer pet safety tips to help you prepare – and protect your pet.

Abundant Sunshine

Pets adapt fairly well to seasonal changes, making it easy to forget all the potential risks associated with longer days and hotter temps. Always remember that your pet needs:

  • Lots of shade for your pet to cool down when it’s too hot
  • Comfortable places to rest
  • Extra amounts of fresh water
  • At home, it’s a great idea to thoroughly inspect your home’s window screens. Check for rips, tears, and overall security. Properly maintained screens can also help mitigate the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, like heartworm disease.

    Cruisin’ Dangers

    On your way into the woods, please don’t allow your pet to ride untethered or without a harness. There are numerous dog safety products to protect against accidental injury. Dogs left to scramble around in the back of a pick-up are at risk of serious injury, as well as pups lapping up the fresh air (not to mention damaging, hurtling debris) through an open window.

    Lastly, never leave your pet alone inside your vehicle during the summer, due to dehydration and potential heat stroke. During summer’s peak, temperatures inside a parked car can quickly rise above 100-degrees, leaving a pet to suffer unnecessarily. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, watch for these symptoms:

  • Hyperventilation or uncontrollable panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Staggering or collapse
  • Weakness
  • Pugs, Persian cats, and other brachycephalic, flat-facing pets may have heat-related health challenges that require keen observation skills and diligent intervention.

    Summer Pet Safety

    The following summer pet safety tips should also be considered:

  • Wildlife encounters – Among the variety of Montana’s fauna, wolves could pose a risk to your dog if you approach or are near the pack. Standing between your dog and an aggressive wolf, while not anyone’s cup of tea, may reduce an injury. However, do not actively engage in breaking up a fight between your dog and a wild animal.
  • UV Rays – Sure, haircuts can cool you down, but for your pet, his or her fur coat actually serves to insulate against the heat. Shaving your pet also exposes his or her sensitive skin to damaging UV rays. Increase brushing and general grooming habits at least once a week to relieve your pet’s skin and coat.
  • Parasites – Fleas and ticks can quickly become your worst nightmare during the summer months, when effective prevention should be at a peak. Direct your pet away from wooded, bushy areas, and inspect his or her entire body daily to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
  • Fireworks – Before you go out and slap down a down payment on a load of fireworks, remember that fireworks contain dangerous chemicals, and, when lit, can injure or burn a pet. Additionally, as many pet owners can attest, animals react unpredictably to the loud noises set off by displays. Keep your pet indoors around Independence Day, check tags, and update microchip information, if necessary.
  • Parties – Whether you are camping or hosting a BBQ at home, keep your pet out of the trash, away from guests that offer food, and alcoholic drinks.
  • Rattlesnakes – If your adventures include high desert hiking, keep in mind our recommendation for the canine rattlesnake vaccine.
  • Get Out There!

    Get all you need to protect your pet this year, including heartworm testing, at your pet’s spring/summer wellness exam. We love hearing from you and hope you’ll let us know how we can help you with summer pet safety.