Who doesn’t look forward to fun in the sun during the summer months? Barbeques! Beach time! Baseball games! With a little creativity and careful attention to safety, though, summer can be just as much fun for our furry friends.
Both cats and dogs love spending time in the sun. How many times have you noticed your cat or dog foregoing a comfortable spot on the sofa to curl up in the warmth of a sunbeam on the hard floor? Dogs and cats crave sunshine, so do your best to give them some outside time, too!
If your pet lives outside, there are all sorts of ways to enrich their summer days. Place a priority on keeping them cool. Spoil them with ice water in their bowls. Make sure they have a shady spot to chill out. A fan might be appreciated on super-hot days.
Like their people, many dogs love water. They enjoy playing in the surf, romping in the stream of a hose or sprinkler, or flopping in a kiddie pool (just make sure to keep it dumped daily to avoid a mosquito infestation). Want to get really crazy? Try flavored bubbles! Even felines, who may not be big fans of water, often fancy a game of “go fish.”
Summer is a great time to get active with your pet. Why not train your dog to play frisbee? Create a dog agility course. Cats can also be enticed to play in a “rooting box.” Gardeners might consider planting catnip as a special treat.
Speaking of training, believe it or not, cats are also highly trainable. Your feline friend can learn to come when called, walk on a leash and to travel comfortably in a carrier. This last behavior makes it much easier to take them for routine medical checkups. Cats can also learn not to scratch up the furniture, use the litter box consistently and more.
Speaking of treats, we all know that popsicles and ice cream are beloved summer coolers for humans, but dogs and cats also enjoy pet friendly frozen treats. A quick Google search will yield tons of ideas. We might not savor frozen chicken broth embedded with peas, but your pet absolutely will! There are also lots of ideas for frozen fruit treats.
Keep Your Best Friend Safe!
To ensure that your pet stays healthy during the hot summer months, there are some precautions to keep in mind.
Dogs and cats–especially flat-faced breeds and animals that are young, elderly, obese, or medically compromised are particularly susceptible to heatstroke. Always make sure your pet has shade and access to fresh water. Avoid overexertion during the hottest part of the day. Also, be cognizant of the fact that your dog’s bare paws have no protection from blazing hot pavement. Finally, never–not even for a couple of minutes with the window slightly open–leave your dog or cat in the car on a warm day; the danger cannot be overstressed.
You probably already have a regimen against fleas and ticks, but in the busyness of summer, it is easy to forget. Don’t! Summer is prime time for these pests and others, so your pet needs protection. Also, allergies flare up in the heat and can cause irritation. Scratching and paw licking often signal allergies. Avoid letting such behaviors go unattended because excessive licking can result in painful, raw sores and infection.
When it comes to pet grooming, you may want to give your dog a close shave, thinking the less hair, the better. However, an excessively short haircut puts your pet at risk for sunburn. If your dog is light-colored, has a naturally short coat, or gets a close shave, you might want to talk to your vet or a veterinary assistant who can advise you on the use of a pet sunscreen.
Share the Joys of Summer
If you think a lot of this advice sounds like it could apply to people, you are right. Enjoying summer to the fullest for you and your pet takes a little planning and common sense, but the memories make it all worthwhile.