This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue
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Summer Safety Tips for Senior Pet Owners
Caring for a pet is always challenging. There are basic, daily things like feeding and exercise that need to be tended to on a regular basis, as well as long-term care such as checkups, shots, and bathing that should be scheduled in as well.
The pet owner responsibilities only increase every time the hot summer months roll in. Failing to care for a pet in the summer heat can have severe consequences. There are a few heat-related tips that you’re going to want to specifically have in mind, like providing adequate shade and water for your dog or misting your birds to help them stay cool.
Further complications enter into play when a senior is solely in charge of caring for a pet. This doesn’t just mean increased dangers to the owner, such as knowing what to do if they’re bitten or the risk of being knocked over by their pet. Things like forgetfulness or physical limitations an also easily lead to improper care of the pets themselves. This should be carefully considered before any senior takes on the responsibility of caring for an animal, especially in the summer heat.
That’s not to say that seniors shouldn’t own pets. On the contrary, seniors and pets have a
venerable, well-established history, whether the pet resides in their living space (and likely
directly on their lap) or is simply a therapy dog visiting their nursing home in the hopes of creating a few smiles.
That said, any elderly person with a pet would be wise to take some time to go over their
animal’s situation before the summer heat strikes. In order to get ahead of said summer heat,
here are a few pet-specific safety tips to review in order to help remember those extra things to watch out for as both you and your pet brave the summer heat.
Keep Your Yard Safe
There are many obvious precautions that go into a properly prepared outdoor space for a pet.
Dogs, in particular, need to be leashed or enclosed in a fence – especially if a senior doesn’t want to be spending the hot days out and about searching for their dog. In addition, chemicals should be kept safely stored out of reach and any plants that can be harmful if touched or ingested should be removed.
The first thing you should do when the warm months arrive is to make sure that any spring
landscaping or outside activities haven’t compromised any of these things for your pet. If a
senior hires others to do these activities, it’s important to make sure that the hired hand is aware of the potential dangers. Make sure to also follow up periodically throughout the summer to make sure that fences are secure, no dangerous weeds are sprouting up, and the gas can is put back every time the lawn is mowed.
Beyond the basic precautions, the summer also brings the added danger of heat. Even if you
live in an area where the temperature never gets too high, there’s one element that’s difficult to avoid: the sun. If the summer sun beats down on anyone – human or animal – all day long, it can do some serious damage.
It’s already important to make sure that seniors are aware of the dangers of things like heat
stroke and dehydration, but the same goes for their pets as well. Make sure to provide shade for your pet during the summer, and – just as critically – make sure that they can easily find it.
Other cooling tips include making sure to never leave your dog in the car in the heat –
seemingly comfortable temperatures as low as 78 degrees can cause a cars interior to reach 100 degrees in no time. Also, try to take walks when the sun and heat are at their lowest points, such as the early morning and late evening, and don’t walk or leash your pet on hot surfaces like asphalt that can damage their paws and feet.
Proper Hydration is Key
You saw this one coming, right? The heat can suck the life right out of animals and owners alike, which makes the summer a critical time to make sure that your pet – whether it’s a bird, a cat,or a dog – gets all of the water it needs.
In fact, the summer heat can cause your dog’s water consumption to go up as much as two to
three times the normal amount – which is typically about an ounce per pound of weight . In addition to the clear responsibility of making sure that your dog’s water dish is full at all times, you can also bring a collapsible water dish on walks and can add ice cubes to their water to help cool them down.
Taking Care of Your Pets this Summer
As long as a senior is able to have a pet companion by their side, they should do so. The power
of pets in creating a warm, welcoming, and pleasant atmosphere is a powerful tool that should
not be taken for granted.
However, a pet is more than just a therapy tool. All animals are living, breathing creatures. And while it’s important to make sure that, for example, an owner is safe from injuries from their animal, it’s also important to ensure that their animals are safe from injuries caused by neglect or unawareness from their owners.
That’s why it’s crucial that you take the time to address your pet’s needs this summer, from
keeping them cool to making sure they’re hydrated, in order to ensure that they’re as happy and healthy as possible.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.