Summer Pet Safety Checklist

west highland terrierSummer in the Poconos, what could be better? And, then of course there’s antique walks, a vacay with the kiddos, and backyard shindigs. Whether we’re packing up the car for that epic road trip or putting on the BBQ fixings, as pet owners, we may also be pondering whether or not to include our pets. Pet safety, after all, seems to play a part in our planned pet activities.

To help keep your furry family member protected while you enjoy this beautiful season, we’ve compiled the most common seasonal precautions.

Pet Vaccinations

If you plan to travel with your pet this summer, make sure his vaccinations are current. Depending on where you go, there may be an increased risk for exposure to wildlife or you may be visiting areas where certain diseases are prevalent. Many kennels and pet-friendly establishments also require proof of core vaccines, including Bordetella. Plan ahead and make a wellness appointment for your pal at least a month in advance. We can also help you determine additional risks based on your destination.

Fleas, Ticks, and Other Parasites

Oh, my! You probably don’t need a reminder about the virulent pests that abound in our lush region. According to the Center for Disease Control, Pennsylvania is one of the states that sees the greatest number of tick-borne Lyme diseases cases each year.

Mosquitoes pose a serious risk of heartworm disease, which can be life-threatening and affect both dogs and cats. Since there’s no way to escape these nasty foes, we recommend screening your pet annually, as well as keeping her on a year-round preventive.

Pet Poisons

Speaking of barbeques and backyards, there are a plethora of temptations awaiting our pets. When it comes to human foods, so commonly shared on the deck, keep a close eye on your pet and pay special attention to these toxic ingredients:

  • Alcohol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute)
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Fruit pits
  • Yeast dough

And, if you are a green thumb who enjoys some backyard time with your best friend, be aware that many mulches (like cocoa shell), compost, blood and bone meals, and garden chemicals are poisonous for pets. Whenever possible, opt for natural, biodegradable solutions to insects and plant growth instead. They’re better for the earth and safer for your pet!

Wildlife Awareness

Summertime wouldn’t be complete without some hiking trips on our favorite trails. Since wildlife is most active through the spring and summer, it’s a good idea to be alert to the presence of wild animals, especially when out with small children or animals. As beautiful as they are, wild animals, and particularly skunks, raccoons, and coyotes, can carry several diseases, including rabies.

In most cases, however, wildlife are more frightened of you than you are of them. To exercise some wildlife caution while out on the hiking trail, practice the following safety tips:

  • If you encounter a wild animal, give him a wide berth and keep a tight rein on your dog’s leash as you create some distance.
  • Unless your dog is a master of obedience commands, it’s generally much safer to keep him on a leash, since dogs can easily become lost or injured in wild areas.
  • Consider adding some bells to your cat or dog’s collar, to help alert wild animals to his presence.
  • Carefully inspect your dog after returning from a hike, looking for ticks that may have hopped aboard on the trail walk.
  • If your property abuts a wild or natural area, be especially vigilant about trash or pet food left unattended.
  • If your pet is ever bitten or comes into contact with a snake or wild animal, seek emergency veterinary care right away.

Before you get your summer officially kicked off, make sure your pet is ready for the great outdoors, backyard festivities, and seasonal pests by practicing these prevention tips. If you have any questions about your pet’s summertime readiness or need to prepare for road trips or travel time, we are here to help.

Enjoy some fun in the sun!