Why Dogs and Cats Need Extra Care During Summer

Summer is that time of the year when everyone just wants to spend more time outdoors, whether at the beach, in the mountains, or on road trips. Pets, being a part of the family, are not exempted from these outdoor getaways. It is not uncommon for families to bring their pets to the beach, or even on long-haul overseas flights.

However, the altogether real intention of having the pet join the family may be detrimental to the pet’s health as well.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), leaving pets in a parked car “even for just a minute… can be a death trap for dogs.” In summer, temperatures rise rapidly and so that “one minute” can spell the difference between 90 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pets traveling on flights provide dim statistics as well when in 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 29 pets died on commercial flights. This data proved to be a significant increase from 2014 when 17 deaths were recorded for that year.

According to Bobbie Egan, Alaska Airlines spokesperson, “One of the biggest issues for animals who fly are when they get nervous and escape their kennels and then injure themselves.” Pets on flights must endure heat, altitude, darkness, and the noise that they are very sensitive about.

Pets cannot speak for what they feel; however, they can be creative in expressing themselves. These signals can range from panting, excessive barking, to rolling on the floor.

So, what can owners do to help their pets during the summer season?

  1. Be watchful of your pets’ signals

If you know your pet well, you would know that something is off when he/she suddenly does things that he/she haven’t done before. Do not let these signs pass and shrug them off. See why your pet is acting differently.

Experts say that pet signals can be learned by owners as well. For example, dogs’ eyes look smaller when they are stressed, and look bigger when they’re aggressive. And as for cats, their pupils look wider when they’re fearful.

If simple solutions such as putting your pet in a cooler room and giving him/her water do not work, bring your pet immediately to a veterinarian.

  1. If you can, avoid bringing your pets on flights

Short and long haul flights are very distressing to animals. So, if you can, leave them to a pet sitter while you’re away. Pets are caged and kept in the cargo that is dark, dank, without much circulation, and without protection from air noises that can be disturbing to them.

There’s a lot of uncertainties that can go for pets when they are brought on flights. They may be mistakenly delivered to another destination, and they may have to struggle with unexpected conditions such as malfunctions in pressure and temperature.

Bringing your pets on flights pose a significant risk to their health.

  1. Prepare your pet for the summer season

On the onset of summer, you can make your pet by trimming his/her coat and pack up a tote bag with snacks, water, water spritzer, and vitamins. Vitamins that are good to give for summer should be rich in Vitamin C, with the flu more common during this season. Fruits are also safe for some pets. Mangoes, peaches, pears, pineapples, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, bananas, and apples are safe for dogs.

Summer is a fun time for both owners and pets with lots of activities that they can share outdoors. However, extra measures in caring for pets should not be overlooked: 1) Be watchful of your pets’ signals; 2) Avoid bringing your pets on flights; and, 3) Prepare your pet for the summer season. These tips can help ensure a happy and healthy summer for you and your pet.


American Kennel Club. Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can and Can’t Eat.

News Day. 29 Pets Have Died on U.S. Commercial Flights through October, DOT says.

WebMD. Cat Body Language and Dog Body Language.

Zoe Wolf
Since the age of 10, Zoe has translated her passion for animals into volunteer work for various animal shelters around her hometown of Newport, RI. Aside from being a Puppy Smarts dedicated writer, she also operates her own photography business.

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