Summer is a great time to be outside, relax, and take a break from the busy year. However, loud storms and fireworks, high temperatures and time in the water can all be dangerous for pets. The good news is, with some preparation, there are many strategies that can help your pets stay happy and healthy through this busy season.

Thunderstorms and Fireworks

Loud noises can be stressful for pets, especially summer thunderstorms and Fourth of July fireworks. Always bring your pets inside, or put them in a kennel or safe space, before fireworks or thunderstorms. Creating a specific sanctuary room can help pets establish a place where they feel safe. Feeding and housing your pet in this room leading up to events like the Fourth of July can help them feel more secure during the event itself. Sanctuary rooms for cats can be sprinkled with catnip, and aids like Rescue Remedy flower essences can help calm pets down. ThunderShirts, which “swaddle” dogs, can also have a calming effect.

Also, consider leaving the radio on to counter loud sounds from outside— human stations work just fine, but there’s also a station called Dog Radio that plays sound recorded from other dogs!

Your vet may recommend using calming medications or sedatives, which should be started before the day of an event. Avoid over-the-counter medicines, especially for cats.

On days like the Fourth of July, be sure to keep pets a safe distance from fireworks to prevent hearing damage. This can also prevent pets from the fireworks themselves, which dogs may try to fetch, and lighters or matches that could be chewed on.

Be sure to update your pet’s microchip and collar tags and take a current photo to help locate them if they do run away. If you need to locate a missing pet or report a wandering or found pet, you can check in with your neighbors, post an announcement on nextdoor.com, and contact Texas Humane Heroes.

Heatstroke

Texas summers can get very hot and humid, which puts pets at risk for heatstroke. One tip from Dr. Hunter Bowen (Medical Director of our Round Rock hospital) is to avoid taking pets outside during the hottest hours of the day, and if pets must be outside they need to have unlimited access to shade. If humidity is 70% or above, Dr. Laura Sanders (Westlake hospital) says dogs should be kept inside because they will not be able to effectively cool themselves.

Hot pavement can hurt pets’ paws, so the best times to take your dogs on walks are before 10 am or after sundown. Walking with a portable water dish can also help your pet stay cool and hydrated.

If your pets do play outside, be sure to pay attention to their behavior. If pets are falling behind on a walk or not walking beside you, it’s probably time to take a break. Also, Dr. Staci Hansen (Kyle hospital) recommends always having fresh, cool water available for pets when they’re outdoors. Additionally, Dr. Bowen said pet owners shouldn’t count on their pets to let them know when it’s time to take a break. If your pets are playing off-leash, have them take a break at least every 15 minutes.

Water Safety

While playing in the water can be a great way to beat the heat, there are some safety precautions pet owners should be aware of. Lake and pool water can make dogs sick, so bring a separate supply of fresh water to keep your dogs hydrated.

Also, remember that pets can drown if they do not know how to swim. Introduce your pets to the water, so they can get more familiar with swimming in a controlled environment. Doggy life jackets are a good investment to keep pets safe. Like outside play, dogs can get tired from swimming and may not pace themselves. Have your dogs take breaks at regular intervals so they can rest.

Summer can be a great time for both humans and pets alike. By following these tips and keeping an eye on your pet, you can keep your pets safe, healthy, and happy during the hottest months of the year.

To learn more, please watch the videos below and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Dr. Bowen offers some serious water safety tips (while channeling his inner Baywatch lifeguard):

Our doctor offers heat tips in this video:

Dr. Bowen recently visited We Are Austin to talk Firework safety and more. Click here to watch now!