GREENSBORO, NC -- Summer is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the weather, vacation time and even summer holidays with your family. But what about your four-legged family members? Summer can be just as fun for them but it can also be dangerous.
WFMY News 2's Maddie Gardner spoke to Dr. Janet Raczkowski of Adams Farm Animal Hospital in Greensboro about ways to keep your pets happy and healthy this summer.
First, the 4th of July is a highlight of the summer but it can be a particularly dangerous day for pets. Dr. Raczkowski says the most common pet injuries on the fourth are cuts, blunt trauma, heat stroke, burns, near drowning and toxic materials. On top of that, close to half of all Americans will celebrate the 4th of July by watching fireworks but pets can easily be frightened and even run away during a fireworks display.
You can take these safety precautions on the 4th of July to make sure your pet stays safe:
- Set up a safe zone that is comfortable for your pet and will block out the noise.
- Leave out extra water bowls to ensure that your pet remains hydrated in the hot summer sun.
- Be aware of foods that are toxic to your pet, as well as, alcohol. Make sure you don’t feed them table scraps.
- Do not leave your pet unattended when near a body of water or a pool.
- Never leave your pet unattended or tied up outdoors. Make sure they have proper ID, microchips, etc. in case fireworks scare them and they run away. Take a current photo of your pets, just in case you need to show someone.
- Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from your pet.
It's not just the 4th of July - the entire summer season can bring pet problems. Dr. Raczkowski says ticks, dehydration and heat stroke, pools and water, burns and snakes and other animals are the most typical safety hazards during the season.
Here are her tips to make sure summer goes well for your four-legged family member:
- Be sure your pet is microchipped and all tags and photos are up-to-date and visible before the summer festivities begin!
- Be on the lookout around all bodies of water and use a lifejacket for safe swimming
- Beware of the heat. Using pet sunblock and keeping her in cool places are the safest ways. Thick drool, vomiting, and heavy panting are all signs of heat exhaustion. Remember 100-103 degrees is her ideal body temperature. Anything over is dangerous territory!
- No table food ! Remember table food and other food intended for people can be extremely toxic!
- If sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, or charcoal are in the plans, plan to leave them home or somewhere safe away from the action. Also be sure to clear the yard after use for next day play and fun!
- Check the label. Make sure all of your insect repellant and sunscreen are safe for pet use.
If you're planning to travel this summer you'll also want to make a travel plan for your pet. That might mean finding a pet-sitter or place to board them but many times families take their pets along.
Dr. Raczkowski says you should take these things with you if your pet is traveling with you this summer:
- Vet’s contact info
- List of Vets/24 Hour Emergency Hospitals along the way and close to your destination
- Identification (current color photo of your pet, ID tag, microchip)
- Medical Records
- Certificate of Veterinary Inspection
- Acclimation certificate for air travel
- Items for your pet (medications, collar, leash, crate, bed/blankets, toys, food, fresh water, food and water dishes)
If your pet is riding in the car with you make sure they're restrained properly and never let them ride in the front seat or in a truck bed. Also remember to never leave your pet in a hot car.
Finally this summer season also brought a dangerous virus to North Carolina. The dog flu has killed two dogs in our state since the start of the year. The flu can mean a dry, hacking cough, lack of appetite, sleepiness, runny nose and eyes and a fever for your dog. Dr. Raczkowski says the best protection is vaccination. You should also be careful brining your dog to a dog park as the virus is easily transmitted from one dog to another.