Safer-at-Home with your Pets this Summer

By Jacqui Dziak

Memorial Day officially kicks off the summer season. While summers are usually filled with outdoor concerts, long days at the beach, and summer vacations, this summer will likely find us staying closer to home. But as Dorothy famously said in the film The Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home.” Dorothy also knew what is was like to be with Toto 24/7. With some reminders and suggestions, we can help you have a great summer with your own Toto.

Summertime brings warmer weather and this important reminder to never leave your pet in the car- even for a few short minutes. On an 85 degrees day, temperatures in the car can reach 100 degrees in the shade, and 160 degrees in the sun. Leaving your pet in the car, even for a few short minutes, can be fatal to your pet. We also want to remind you to be as mindful about leaving your pet outdoors. While many mammals love to sunbathe, our pets can quickly overheat in the direct sunlight. If your pet is going to be outside, make sure they have access to plenty of fresh, cool water and shade to take a break from the direct sunlight. A kiddie pool can provide a nice place for your pup to cool off and certainly provides great play time for the both of you. With a refreshing drink and a good book in hand, you and your pet can also enjoy some pool time together.

Dogs love to go for walks, and most of us can certainly benefit from getting out of the house more. Walking your dog is a safe, socially distant activity. In summer, it is best to walk your dog early in the morning and later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. Remember to check the pavement before you walk your dog. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Dogs aren’t the only pets that we need to keep cool during the warmer summer days. If you live with rabbits, make sure they aren’t in direct sunlight or directly in front of the air conditioning vent. If you don’t have air conditioning and your home gets sticky hot, place a frozen water bottle in your rabbit’s area. They love to lean next to a cool water bottle when their body is warm. You might also see them stretching out on ceramic tiles or some other cooler floor surface.

Cats can also benefit from summertime fun. Try some new, “cool” ways to play such as putting an ice cube or two on the floor so they can bat at them, then chase the strange object. Cats are better than dogs and rabbits at keeping themselves cool as long as you provide a place for them to get out of the heat. Consider pulling the drapes closed during the hottest time of the day when they like to take cat naps. And while you may think you cat is aloof, this is the perfect time to coax them for some snuggle time on the sofa while you binge watch your favorite show.

More time at home also means more time with your beloved pet to teach them a trick or two, or work on a not-so-becoming behavior such as excessive barking or digging or clawing furniture. If you need some tips, The Pasadena Humane Society is offering Virtual Behavior Consultations via Zoom with one of our animal behavior specialists. Virtual behavior consults are available for dogs, cats, rabbits and rodent species (guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, etc.)

With the safer-at-home currently extended through June, it is a great opportunity to find new ways to spend quality time enriching and training your pet. Stay safe. Stay cool. And remember we are here if you need us.