There is a song that claims we can’t cure the summertime blues. Our pets can be faced with many kinds of summertime blues, but fortunately there are cures or at least preventions for most of them. Fleas and ticks are one of the most annoying of summer pests and can make life miserable not only for pets but the humans who live with them. Flea drops have become the easiest way to prevent fleas but some pets can be allergic to them, so if you’ve never used them before it might be a good idea to check with your vet before starting them.
One of the most important ways to protect dogs, not only in the summer, is to have them tested for heartworm and Lyme disease and to give heartworm preventative year round. Once a dog has heartworm, the treatment is much more difficult and costly than giving a pill every month. Lyme disease is spread to both humans and dogs by the tiny deer tick. So if you live near or walk and hike in areas where ticks like to hang out be sure to use preventative for ticks. Not all flea preventatives work+ on both. There are also more natural preventatives that some people prefer to use, such as one made with vinegar, peppermint oil, vegetable oil and water. Not having tried homemade preventatives, I’m not sure how well they work, but if your pet is allergic to flea drops it’s something to consider. Once again, consulting your vet on the best way to prevent Lyme disease is a good idea.
A very real summertime danger is leaving pets in the car. Even on a day that isn’t very hot, the temperature inside a parked, closed up car will rise quickly, and it doesn’t take long for an animal to become overheated and to even expire. Most dogs love to go for car rides but unless you know you won’t be leaving them alone, they’re safer at home on summer days.
Access to fresh water and shade is absolutely essential to outside pets. Imagine being tied in a yard with no shade or water all day long while your family is at work. It’s almost as bad as being left inside a car. Please, if your dog must stay outside make sure there is shade and water available all day long and not just in the morning when you leave.
Taking our pets on vacation presents its own challenges. Before setting out, it’s a good idea to make copies of your pet’s proof of rabies and other vaccinations and keep them in a convenient place. Safe car travel means no heads sticking out of windows and no riding on the driver’s lap. Pets are safest if they’re confined to a crate or in their own doggy seat belt, or at least restrained in some way in the back seat. A deployed airbag can be deadly to a pet riding in the front seat, and an unrestrained pet will become a flying projectile in a collision. Pets thrown from a vehicle are often lost and may wander about injured and confused. I.D. tags, with owner’s current contact information, are a must when traveling. If you’re staying in motels/hotels, it’s a good idea to check ahead and see which ones are pet friendly. Taking along the food your pet is used to eating will help prevent stomach upsets, and don’t forget any regular medications.
Keeping the summertime blues at bay for our pets just takes a little thought and planning, but it can make a world of difference for them and us and will help make the summer months more enjoyable.