Summertime poses all sorts of risks to your pet, and heat is just one of them.
Step 1: Protect them from the heat Protect your pets from the heat by keeping them out of parked cars, making sure their drinking bowls are full, providing shade when they're outdoors, and brushing them regularly to remove excess hair.
TIP: Older, obese, and short-nosed dogs are more sensitive to the heat.
Step 2: Safeguard them around water Safeguard your pets around water. If you're at the beach, make sure they have a lot of drinking water so they don't lap up ocean or lake water. Install animal exit devices in your pool, and rinse pets after they have a swim to remove chlorine. Put life jackets on them when taking them out on a boat.
Step 3: Prevent them from getting poisoned Check with the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (at aspca.org) to see if your yard has any plants that are dangerous to pets. Read the labels of garden pesticides and fertilizers before using them to see if they present a danger to animals.
TIP: Snail and rodent bait can kill your pets.
Step 4: Check them for ticks Check your dog for ticks and foxtails if they've spent time outside, especially in fields or woods. Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, are increasing, even in areas not known for them, and foxtail seeds can burrow through your pet's skin.
Step 5: Give them their meds If heartworms are a problem in your area, have your pet tested, and give them medication to protect them from heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquitoes.
Step 6: Make fleas flee Get rid of fleas by treating them monthly with a topical ointment from your veterinarian.
Step 7: Keep dogs out of truck beds Don't put a dog in a truck bed for a ride – no matter how nice a day it is. The American Humane Society estimates 100,000 die as a result of falling from the back of an open truck. Others suffer burns when the metal floor heats up.
Step 8: Take them inside during fireworks Take pets inside during fireworks, and distract them with a new toy or by petting them. Keep the TV or radio at a high volume to drown out the blasts.
FACT: July 5th is the biggest day of the year for lost pets to end up at animal shelters.