The leaves on the trees are opening. The flowers are blooming. You hear the hum of lawnmowers on a sunny afternoon. Yup, that’s right….summer is almost here! Break out the sun block, sun glasses, and BBQ grill, but don’t forget our furry friends….our pets.

I own two canine furkids myself; a Sheltie named Carmel, and a Basenji named Keiki. When the warm weather hits, my family, (furkids included), do many outdoor activities together. If you take your pet on outings with you, there are some tips to keep your pet safe from any summer hazards that could come your way.

The summer heat brings out everyone’s favorite little creepy crawlies…fleas and ticks. When returning from a walk with your pet, check him all over for signs of ticks. Ticks like warm spots, so start your search under the collar. Purchasing a flea and tick preventative is also a good safeguard against fleas and ticks. Talk with your veterinarian about which one will work best for your pet. If you find a tick on your pet, use a pair of tweezers to remove it. You can do so by pinching the tick as close to the place of attachment and pull the tick straight out. Wash the bitten area with soap and water. Disinfect your hands and the tweezers after removing the tick. Keep a close eye on the bitten site. If there are any signs of changes at the bitten area, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not prick, crush or burn the tick as it may release infected fluids or tissue. Do not try to smother the tick (petroleum jelly, nail polish) as the tick has enough oxygen to complete the feeding.

When bringing your pet on outings, always make sure you pack plenty of water and a bowl to prevent dehydration. I use a canvas collapsible bowl designed for pets on the go. They collapse down flat and do not take up a bunch of room in a backpack. It is also a good idea to have a first aid kit with you as well; not only for yourself, but for your pet. It is always a good idea to be prepared in case of an emergency.

If your pet stays outside during the day, make sure there is plenty of water available. Some pets will knock water bowls over in a moment of excitement, (or sometimes in play too). Find a bowl with a wide flat bottom that he will not be able to spill. Have a place where your pet can go for shelter when the sun is too hot, or if it starts to storm. This could be a dog house, or even a canopy that creates a shaded area for your pet to cool off.

If you plan on going for a drive with your pet, plan your stops. Can your pet go into the establishment with you? If not, how long will your pet be in the vehicle? If it is 85 degrees outside, you can plan on it being at least 100 degrees inside of the vehicle. Leave your windows cracked for fresh air to circulate throughout the vehicle and try not to be any longer then 5 to 10 minutes while your pet is in the vehicle. Too many pets die each year from being left in a hot vehicle for too long.

So with all of this being said, get out there and play! Include your pets and have fun showing them off. Having a pet that is part of your family and included on outings is such a wonderful thing.