6 tips to acreage pet wellness
Summer is coming and you want your pets to be ready. The key is to keep them happy, comfortable, and safe so you can enjoy the long months of good weather together. Let’s explore some ways to get your pet ready for summer’s heat.
1. Prepare for pests
Winter may give us a much-needed respite from troublesome insects and arachnids, but when the snow melts, it’s time to start thinking about these pests again. For dogs and cats, heartworm issues transmitted by pesky mosquitoes are an obvious summertime threat, while ticks can transmit a variety of illnesses like Lyme.
Plan on a pre-summer trip to your pet’s veterinarian to make sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on all of the recommended vaccinations. And talk to your veterinarian about preventative flea and tick treatments. Stopping the lifecycles of these pests can be a lot more effective than trying to treat for them once your pet (or home) is infested.
2. Learn the warning signs
Some of the larger animals on your homestead—like horses or goats—use their ability to sweat a way to combat heat. Other animals around your place—the dogs, the cats, the rabbits—don’t utilize sweating to any useful degree, so you’ll need to watch them carefully to make sure they’re not getting too hot. A few quick warning signs include:
3. Find ways to stay cool
Since your animals depend on you for their safety, it’s up to you to help them stay cool. Aim to limit activity during the hottest parts of the day, and if pets are outdoors, be sure to offer shady get-away spots so they can escape the sun.
To help compensate for their lack of effective sweat glands, you can actually dampen your dog or cat’s fur with a mist bottle or damp cloth. As the water evaporates it will cool your pet at the same time. Using a fan has minimal effects on dogs and cats, but will help more when combined with the fur dampening method.
4. Try a pet pool
Ever notice how 70°F. water feels a lot cooler than 70°F. air? While water may not be the best conductor of heat in the world, it does a far better job than air, and you can put this to your advantage with your pets. Why not try a small pet pool? It’s a super way for your dog to stay cool on hot days but still enjoy some outdoor time.
Skip the tired kiddie pool that your dog’s toenails may damage; instead, select a shallow pool specifically designed for dogs—one with a durable floor and sides that can stand up to doggy use!
5. Keep rabbits safe
Rabbits in particular are somewhat susceptible to heatstroke, but luckily it’s pretty easy to keep them cool in the summer. First, make sure their habitats are safely indoors or in the shade, then try occasionally providing them with a frozen water bottle; they’ll appreciate having a cold object to rest next to. Brush your rabbit thoroughly to remove unnecessary loose hair.
6. Prepare for some fun!
Don’t forget that summer is supposed to be fun, too. You’ll want your dog to remain active even during the summer months, so plan on shifting walks, jogs, and rough-and-tumble games to cooler mornings or evenings to avoid the heat (except for pool time, of course!). Maybe stock up on some new toys for added summertime fun.
Good times are on the way. Enjoy!