• Make sure your pet is examined once a year and its vaccinations are current.
• Inspect your fence often to make sure your pet can't get out and other animals can't get in. Do not keep your dog on a chain—it can lead to death by choking!
• If your pet must be outside during the heat of the day or during a storm, have appropriate shelter, shade and water for him/her. Be careful not to let your pet be on hot surfaces for too long. If your pets have access to a pool, they should always be supervised!
• Do not leave your pet in a car when it is warm! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature can reach 120 degrees in minutes! If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, wet him/her down with cool water, call your vet and get your pet to the vet asap!
• Make sure your yard is clear of any items your pet might ingest such as toxic plants, rocks, wood, paintballs, etc. These can lead to problems ranging from vomiting to emergency surgery and death. Some outdoor hazards your pet must stay clear of are metal lawn edging, antifreeze, fertilizers, hydrocarbons (paint, gasoline, engine cleaners), swimming pools (unsupervised). Do not use cocoa and coconut mulches, they are toxic to animals. There are rodent poisons on the market that contain the chemical Bromethalin. DO NOT let your pet near them! Bromethalin can cause neurological problems and lead to death by respiratory paralysis. Bromethalin poisonings can only be treated supportively, there is no antedote for it!
• When riding in vehicles, keep your pet properly restrained and never let him/her ride in the bed of a truck. Keep the windows rolled up high enough so that your pet can't be hit by debris or jump out.
• Heartworm disease can be fatal! Make sure your dog is tested and put on heartworm preventative at least from June through November every year. The American Heartworm Association and Companion Animal Parasite Council both recommend year-round heartworm prevention. Your outdoor cat does not need to be tested, but should be on preventative. Heartworm preventative also protects your pet against some intestinal parasites.
• Fleas and ticks are parasites. Fleas may expose you and your pets to plague and tularemia, skin irritation, and tapeworms. Ticks can pass Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and more, to you and your pets. They are easy to prevent by using Frontline or Revolution, liquid flea and tick preventatives on your pets. You can also prevent flea infestation by vacuuming your carpet often, keeping your pet away from other animals, and keeping your pet away from cool, shady places like under your house, where immature fleas thrive.
• Intestinal parasites such as giardia, coccidia, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms and others are something to be concerned about. Your pet can get these from drinking contaminated water, being around infected animals or their feces, nursing from an infected mother, or being bitten by fleas. They can cause diarrhea, skin irritation, weight loss, and more. Your pet can be treated for intestinal parasites, but it may take months to clear the infection and they can pass some parasites to you. It is easier to prevent them by putting your pet on heartworm, flea and tick preventative and taking other precautions to keep your pet safe.
• Keep a close eye on your pet during the summer. Don't let your pet wander in areas where snakes, bees, wasps, spiders, ants, raccoons (distemper/rabies), rabbits (fleas/leptospirosis), skunks (rabies), bats (rabies), foxes (rabies), coyotes (rabies), and other dangers may be. Rattlesnakes are most active from April through September. If your pet has been bitten by a rattlesnake, decrease his/her activity to slow the absorption of the venom, and get him/her to the vet as soon as possible! Read more about rattlesnakes!
• Keep your veterinarian's number and the number to a reputable emergency animal hospital on hand at all times in case of emergency.