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April showers are gone, and the sun’s rays are on.  Now is the time to enjoy some cat cuddles and romps with your dogs.  But make sure your pets stay healthy and safe during this season marked by pests and high temperatures.  Here are seven ways to safeguard your pets:

 

1 Cover the basics. Secure an up-to-date tag on your pet’s collar,
and make sure to use a leash when you head outdoors. Consult
your veterinarian for flea and tick control options, and always keep your
pet’s vaccinations current.
2 Be wary around water. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so
watch your pooch when you’re near the pool, beach, or lake. On
trips to the ocean, make sure your pets don’t drink the salt water—it
upsets their stomach, just like yours. And watch those currents; the best
paddling dog can struggle against a mean undertow.
3 Keep cool. Schedule walks in the early morning or evening;
dog paws hate hot pavement. You can also make dog exercise
sessions safe by stopping for drinks of fresh water and finding shady
spots for necessary panting breaks. Some pet owners also help prevent
overheating with short fur shaves for cats and dogs in the summer.
4 Watch for warning signs. Heat stroke is an issue for pets, too.
Be on the lookout for early symptoms: excessive panting and
drooling, bright red gums, weakness, and balance problems. As the
condition worsens, pets may experience labored breathing, lethargy,
and even seizures. If you see any of the above signs, get your pet to its
veterinarian immediately.
5 Safely see the sights. Taking your pets for a ride in the car or
minivan? Never leave them inside—windows up or down—on hot
days. Keep dogs’ heads in the car while driving; inner ear damage, lung
infections, and injury happen when man’s best friend sticks his head
out the window. Buckle up your dog with a harness or seat belt for
dogs, or a crate or carrier secured with a seat belt. And never let dogs
ride in the back of trucks. A crate in the truck bed keeps dogs from
bouncing out in an accident or being hit with debris on the road.
6 Party with prudence. Be wary of what your cats and dogs
can get into when you celebrate. Chocolate, raisins, and onions
can be bad for dogs and cats, and alcohol is also a no-no. If your pets
get anxious or fearful around fireworks or big crowds, keep them away
from the sparklers and concerts.
7 Protect against pests and poisons. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes,
and more seem to be everywhere in the summer, so consult with
your veterinarian on the best pest preventives to use for your and your
pets’ lifestyle. Also, keep your animals off areas sprayed with chemicals
or insecticides, and always store fertilizers and other poisonous substances out of their reach.

Courtesy of the ASPCA.

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