What does summer mean for your pet?

Pets need a little extra TLC in the summer months.

In lots of ways, pets love summer as much as people do: More outdoor activities, more frequent (and probably longer) walks, and trips to exotic places like the cottage.

But pets – and particularly dogs, who tend to spend more time outside – also face some dangers unique to summer. The ASPCA has listed the top 5 risks for pets in the summer:

1.   Fireworks & thunderstorms. According to the ASPCA, loud noises like fireworks are one of the main reasons that pets go missing, especially in good weather. If you’re outside at a fireworks show, keep your pet on a leash; if you know your pet gets frightened by thunderstorms and the loud bangs of fireworks, try keeping them in their crate in a quiet area of your home.

2.  Sun & heat. High summer temperatures and more time outside can mean dehydration and overheating. And if you’re wearing flipflops on the beach because the hot sand is hurting your feet, chances are it’s hurting your pet’s paws as well. And yes, pets with little or no fur (or even fur that’s been cropped really closely for  summer) can get sunburned. If you see your pet panting more than normal, looking weak or unenthusiastic, or reluctant to keep up with you, bring him indoors – and of course you should always ensure that your pet has plenty of access to fresh water.

3.  Toxic chemicals.  Lots of common summer products are toxic to pets: Bug sprays, citronella candles and liquids, glow sticks and sunscreens containing zinc oxide are all dangerous and should be kept well away from pets.

4.  Barbeques (and party food). In summer, many of us spend more time with family and friends, grilling on the deck or patio. This means more dropped food for pets to snag, more alcoholic beverages – and in many cases a more relaxed attitude. While giving your dog that last bite of hotdog or a couple of potato chips probably won’t do too much damage, it’s important to remember that some foods, like avocado, garlic and chocolate are toxic to your dog, and pets should never be given alcohol or cannabis products.

5.  Hot cars.  Hopefully, by this time, no one needs reminding that pets should never, ever be left in a car in summer: Even with the windows open an inch, the interior temperature of a car can reach 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees F) in 10 minutes on a 30 C (85 F) day. If you get stuck in an unexpected line in a store, that ‘quick errand’ can turn into a real tragedy pretty quickly.

Enjoy summer with your pet!