It is estimated that an incredible 78 million dogs and 85 million cats are owned in the United States. Pets become family members that we love and adore.
Part of owning a pet means ensuring they get enough exercise. Many take their pets outdoors for some fresh air and to meet this need. While that’s a normal part of owning a pet, the outdoors can pose some dangers.
Ready to learn more about pet safety for when you take your furry friend for a walk? Read below to find out seven safety tips all pet owners should know.
1. Prevent Dehydration
Ensuring your pet stays hydrated is very important. This is especially true when the weather is warm or if your pet is being very active. Take plenty of breaks for water when spending time outside.
Consider carrying a reusable water bottle for you and your pet. Lightweight, foldable bowls are available to make it easy for your pet to get a refreshing drink of water.
2. Temperature is Key for Pet Safety
Extreme temperatures can be harmful to your pet. When it is hot outside, pay close attention. Provide shade for your pet. The sun may overwhelm them and leave them unable to regulate their body temperatures.
Provide shade for your pet. The sun may overwhelm them and leave them unable to regulate their body temperatures.
For example, dogs cool off by panting. But if the panting is excessive or seems distressed, they could be suffering from heat stroke. Some signs of heatstroke include vomiting and diarrhea.
Avoiding vigorous activity when it is very hot can help avoid heatstroke. Try to avoid things like running and hiking in high temperatures. Do these activities for early morning or late evening, when it’s cooler.
Cold weather is also important when thinking about pet safety. Any pet you have will need to have a way to get out of the cold and wind. If you have a dog, consider building an insulated dog house if he stays outside often.
Be careful when using rock salt around your home. This can irritate your pets’ paws.
De-icer and antifreeze should be stored and used with extreme caution. These products are poisonous and can kill your pets.
You should know the signs of hypothermia. These include a weak pulse, dilated pupils, and stupor and unconsciousness. Hypothermia is serious and can lead to heart problems and kidney failure.
Never leave your pets unattended and outside for long periods of time, especially overnight.
3. Protect your Pet from the Elements
Your pets’ paws are sensitive. Be mindful of hot asphalt that can cause burns.
Test the asphalt temperature by placing your hand on it. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for paws. This is a simple and helpful pet safety tip.
If you are in rough terrain, pay attention to any sharp rocks that can cause cuts to your pets’ paws. If you like hiking, consider protective booties. These can provide traction and stability.
Sunburn can be prevented by rubbing a bit of pet-friendly sunscreen on sensitive areas. These include ears and noses. Be sure to use a little extra for your short-haired pets.
4. Keep Those Pests and Animals Away
While bugs are annoying, they can also cause serious medical problems. Mosquitoes can pass on heartworm disease and ticks sometimes carry Lyme’s disease.
Summer is a dangerous time for ticks. A simple rule is not to allow your dog near woods unless they have been treated. If you do find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, then clean and dry the area.
Keeping your pet up to date on all preventative shots and medicines is one of the best pet safety tips. Even with preventative measures, invest in some pet-friendly bug spray if you will be in densely wooded areas.
In addition to creepy crawlies, you need to be mindful of other animals.
Take care when in snake territory. Rattlesnakes can be deadly to pets. Keep your dog leash and scan the ground when in areas where snakes may be.
5. Watch out for Toxins
Unfortunately, there are many harmful toxins in the outdoors. Pay attention when in areas where mushrooms and poisonous berries are. If your pet ingests something concerning, call a pet poison hotline immediately.
Know that harmful bacteria and algae can live in lakes or ponds. These can be deadly to your pet if ingested. Pets may try drinking the infected water or lick their fur after swimming.
Try to avoid water that has visible algae on top. Always rinse your pet after every swim for proper pet safety.
6. Be Mindful of Access
Invest in a fence if you will be letting your dog spend a lot of time outside. This will keep him safe in your yard and potential dangers out. Fences and other barriers are good options to keep your dog out of places like gardens or backyard ponds.
Don’t forget your dog always needs access to food and water. They also need a place to relieve themselves.
Doggie doors can be useful if your dog is trained to go outside to do his business and come back in immediately. Do not be reliant on him to decide how long he stays outside, and make sure to close off the doggie door at night.
7. Be Ready for Any Emergencies
Keep a small pet first aid kit in your car or your backpack. Carry some ointment and vet wraps.
Be sure your pet is up to date on all shots. This will allow for quicker care once you get to a vet.
If you’re traveling with your dog and will not be near your normal vet, take the time to locate a few animal hospitals and emergency veterinary services near where you will be staying.
Luckily, there are often 24-hour clinics in cities.
Now that you are familiar with these pet safety tips, you are ready to enjoy some outdoor time for your four-legged friends. Remember that not all parks and trails are pet-friendly. Be sure you check before heading out.
Are there any other tips you swear by? Leave a note in the comment section to share!