Summer Pet Safety in Chicago
Summer is an ideal time to enjoy the outdoors in Chicago with your dogs (and more adventurous cats). Yet, there are some possible dangers to keep in mind before you head outdoors for a walk, to the dog park, or down to the beach. Help your pet enjoy fun in the sun safely with our animal hospital’s summer pet safety tips!
- Take your daily walks earlier or later than usual to avoid the hottest times of the day.
- Keep your pet off of hot pavement. The hot asphalt can burn their paws as well as radiate heat that can raise their body temperature to dangerous levels.
- Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in minutes, putting your pet at serious risk.
- If your pet is outdoors in the heat for any amount of time, make sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water and a shady place to rest.
- Limit their exercise if temperatures exceed 75 degrees.
Signs of Heatstroke
Even if you follow all of the above safety tips, it’s important to recognize signs of heatstroke in the event your pet becomes overheated. Signs include:
- Excessive panting
- Bright red gums and tongue
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If your pet exhibits any of these signs, bring them straight to the nearest veterinarian.
Lake and Outdoor Safety
- Before you head out to the dog park, ensure your pup is up to date on their vaccinations and parasite prevention. Visit your veterinarian if your pet is currently unprotected!
- Your pets need sunscreen, too! Despite their furry coats, your pet can be sunburned, particularly around their sensitive faces. Short-haired, light-colored coated pets are more at risk. Use pet-friendly sunscreen to protect them.
- When at the lake, be aware of your pet’s swimming abilities. While some dogs are very good swimmers, others (such as Boxers, Bulldogs, and Pugs) are simply not built for it. Additionally, even the best swimmers can tire out. Keep your pet on a leash so they stay close to you.
- If bringing your pet on a boating adventure with you, give them a life jacket, just like the rest of your passengers!
- Do not allow your pet to drink from the lake—they could ingest harmful bacteria or parasites. Always bring fresh water for them.
- Ticks can be a concern in forested areas. Make sure your pets have adequate protection with parasite preventions and vaccines, and always check your pet’s coat after being outdoors in a wooded area.
Severe Weather Safety
- Severe storms are not unheard of in Chicago, especially in the summer. If your pet is sensitive to booming thunder or other loud noises, talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications.
- Make sure your pet has proper identification including a collar, tags, and a microchip. If they end up bolting out of fear, you’re more likely to see them returned home with proper ID.
Looking for more information about summer pet safety in Chicago? Contact our animal hospital and we can answer your questions and offer more insight.