As we pet owners plan our summer festivities, we must be mindful of our pets and how they perceive the unusual chaos that surrounds this time of year. The summer has just begun and we all want to enjoy the weather outside and all of the magical things that the summertime means for us. We have open pools, barbecues, parties, yard games, and fireworks.
An open pool can be a source of danger for your pet. Petplan Pet Insurance, reports that about 1 of every 34,000 submitted insurance claims are related to drowning or near-drowning. Many dogs benefit from a swimming lesson or two. A common misconception is that all dogs can “dog paddle” and keep themselves afloat in the water. This just simply is not the case. Many dogs panic in water if they are not accustomed to it and can overexert themselves quickly and drown. Pets should be monitored as closely as small children around pools and access to pools should be limited to times when the pet owner is present and attentive to the pet.
The family barbecue is another source of danger for pets. The hot grease that sometimes drips from the bottom of grills is both a possible source of burns and can also be a cause of pancreatitis, which occurs when there is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ responsible for the production of digestive enzymes and insulin, among other things. A high fat diet is a major risk factor for the development of pancreatitis which can be fatal. Cookouts are prime time for pancreatitis, as owners or guests can also feel they need to treat their pets to the delicacies of the day.
Parties can be fun for everyone including pets that are well socialized. However, they can be a source of fear and/or aggression for poorly socialized pets. Watch your pets’ behavior during parties. Does your pet cower and/or hide from the people and sounds of the day? Does your pet seem fearful? If so, it may be kinder for your pet to allow them to stay in a quiet room of your home, away from the activity of strangers. Working with pets on socialization skills slowly and in a controlled environment will help them to build the skills to become a social butterfly.
Yard games can be fun for all and many pets like to participate in trying to catch the ball or frisbee. If you have a pet who likes to play these types of games, everyone participating should take special precautions. Many serious pet and human injuries occur when people trip and fall over or on top of pets who are just trying to play the games. There are some games that can be dangerous for pets, especially pets who like to chase things. Horseshoes is a particularly dangerous game to play around these pets and they should not be allowed to participate.
Fireworks are the number one most reported phobia of dogs. The loud crashes and pops can be overwhelming to them and missing pet reports skyrocket over the Fourth of July holiday. We recommend that pets be microchipped to increase the chances of having your beloved pet returned to you. If your pet is one of the millions of pets who are afraid of fireworks, please make the Fourth of July holiday as relaxing as possible. Do not allow fireworks at your party. Ask your veterinarian about safe medications that can be given to reduce your pets’ fear during the night. Make your pet a “safe room” in your home by allowing them to stay in the quietest room of your home. Provide a comfy bed and some soft, soothing music to help distract from the sounds outside.
CHAI hopes that everyone enjoys all that summer has to offer. Remember to be mindful of your pets and have a great summer!