Summer is a time best spent outdoors, and chances are, our pets would agree. Get your animal companions ready for the summer and warmer weather with these five tips.
Your pets may start shedding their winter coats on their own, but lend them a helping hand by taking them to the pet spa. There they can get washed and their hair trimmed; not only will this help them stay cool, but with a shorter coat, they'll be less likely to pick up dirt and burrs -- something you'll be thankful for later. At the same time, don't get all their hair trimmed off; read on for why that's a bad idea.
Visit the Vet
Your next stop should be a visit to the vet. For starters, you'll want to make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccinations, including the canine flu vaccination—especially with the recent flu outbreak—since chances are your pets will encounter other animals in this weather. Use this vet visit to talk to your vet about any concerns or questions you have in regards to having your pet out in hotter weather. Also talk to your vet about any allergies your pet may have, and if any medications need to be refilled.
Invest in Pet Sunscreen
Even if your pet is naturally furry, their skin can still be affected by UV rays. To help prevent him from sunburning, grab some pet sunscreen, of which there are a few on the market. Alternatively, baby sunscreen can also be used. Just make sure the sunscreen doesn't include zinc oxide, which can be toxic to dogs.
Apply sunscreen to the snout and, for dogs who love laying on their backs in the sun—yes, even dogs like to sunbathe—make sure to put sunscreen on the area between their hind legs and belly where there is no fur. For short haired, or light haired dogs, also consider getting your pets some protective clothing.
Make Your Yard Pet Friendly
Since you and your pets will be spending more time outdoors, prep your yard before you head outside. For starters, check your fence to ensure there are no holes or easy ways for your pet to get out. As you spruce up your yard too, make sure—or create—a few shady areas for your animal companions to stay cool. And last, but certainly not least, make sure you always give pets access to a water source to keep them hydrated and to avoid overheating.
Get Your Pet Ready for Vacation
Headed out of town this year? Whether you're bringing your pets or not, you're going to have to make some travel preparations. If you're boarding your pet or using a pet sitter, call well ahead to make arrangements, as places and people often get booked up well in advance during the summer. If you're taking the pets with you, have a safe way to transport them, such as a crate for a dog.
Once the hot weather hits, there's still lots you'll have to do to keep your pets happy and healthy. For your canine companions, take them on walks earlier in the mornings and later in the evenings to stay out of the high temperatures. For any pets that are outside, regularly check for bug bites, and keep up-to-date on your flea and tick medications. The better you take care of your pets during the summer, the more time you'll be able to enjoy the glorious sun!
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.
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