Most of us love summer. There are bright mornings, ocean swims and evenings spent outdoors — not to mention cold beers and barbecues! But let’s stop to consider summer pet safety. After all, with beach season comes an abundance of pet dangers.

Certainly, as pet professionals, it’s important to educate and advise clients on the key things to be aware of during the warmer months. By teaching them a few simple precautions, you can help keep their pet safe. Plus, offering useful advice might just help guarantee a loyal customer. Here are a few summer pet safety tips to share with pet parents.

5 summer pet safety tips

Sure, taking our dog for a refreshing ocean swim can be great fun, but it’s worthwhile considering what dangers are lurking on the shore. Likewise, we wait all winter long for a hot summer’s day, but what impact might the heat have on our pets?

To ensure your clients’ pets stay well this summer, make sure you raise awareness of the common risks. Here are a few factors to discuss when it comes to summer pet safety.

1. Beware the sun

While we humans know the importance of ‘slipping, slapping and slopping’ (or at least we should!), it’s up to us to keep our best sun-safe. Make certain clients whose dogs have light skin or short hair realise it’s possible their fur baby could get sunburned.

Suggest they apply sunscreen to common sights of sunburn, such as the nose, tops of the ears and top of the head. It’s also good practice for them to carry sunscreen on their dog walk—just in case they’re out in the blazing sun for longer than intended.

The other important consideration is whether pets have access to shade. Particularly in cases where the dog is left outdoors most of the day, owners must ensure their four-legged friend has shade and clean water.

2. Toxic treats

Summer typically means more time spent at the beach. For most ocean-loving dogs (and owners!) this is a dream come true. However, when it comes to summer pet safety, it pays to remind owners to watch out for toxic sea creatures that may be washed up onshore.

Ingesting poisonous sea life, such as blowfish, sea slugs and blue-ringed octopus, can be fatal for dogs. Educate pet owners on the importance of either keeping their dog on a lead, so that he or she can’t wander off, or keeping a super close eye on their fur pal. Pets should be discouraged from eating anything at the beach, even if it looks harmless.

In the worst-case scenario where a dog does eat something it shouldn’t have, it’s helpful for owners to recognise the signs of poisoning. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Collapse

Any pet owners who think his or her dog has been poisoned should seek assistance or advice from their vet.

3. Water wisdom

Backyard pools, the ocean and rivers can be a godsend on a blisteringly hot day. However, when it comes to summer pet safety, water can also pose a big danger.

Remind pet owners to supervise their dogs near water at all times. Yes, even if Fido absolutely loves to swim. It’s not unheard of for dogs to drown because they can get into the water but can’t get out.

Plus, don’t forget some dogs hate the water. Advise pet owners not to force their dog to get wet. Instead, they can feed their furry friend some frozen fruit or ice cubes to cool him or her down.

4. Steer clear of snakes

Beware of snakes! After hibernating all winter our scaly friends come out to mate in summer, as such we’re much more likely to encounter one. Indeed, the last thing any pet parent wants is to be frantically rushing their dog to the vet following a snake bite.

Without a doubt, it’s good practice to advise owners to keep their dogs on the leash near bushland and long grass. Also, suggest they take a look around their backyard and get rid of any obvious snake hiding places. If anything, it’s a good excuse for a garden tidy-up!

Furthermore, make certain your clients know the signs of a snake bite. According to the RSPCA, symptoms include:

  • Sudden weakness followed by collapse
  • Shaking or twitching of the muscles and difficulty blinking
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paralysis
  • Blood in urine

A dog that has suffered a snake bite should be taken to the nearest vet. However, owners can be advised of the following steps:

  • Keep the pet calm and quiet
  • Apply a pressure bandage to the site of the snake bite to help prevent the venom from spreading to the vital organs
  • Do not disinfect the wound
  • Do not use a tourniquet
  • Don’t try to catch the snake. However, identifying the type of snake (perhaps via a photo) can be useful for vets.

5. Keep heatstroke at bay

Indeed, anyone who has suffered from heatstroke knows just how horrible it can be. As such, it’s important to protect our pets. In actual fact, heatstroke probably tops the list when it comes to summer pet dangers!

To help safeguard your clients’ pets against heatstroke you can remind pet owners of the following:

  • Always ensure pets have fresh water and shade
  • Don’t take dogs for a walk during the hottest time of day
  • Paddling pools, garden hoses and buckets of water can be used to help cool dogs down—so long as the animal is not afraid of water
  • Never leave a dog in the car unattended – even if the windows are open
  • Older dogs may struggle with heat more than younger dogs, so keep a close eye on senior pets

By chatting to pet owners about common pet dangers and the importance of summer pet safety measures, you can help ensure your clients and their four-legged friends stay well this beach season!

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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