Summer’s hot weather means that your family and your pets will probably be spending more time outdoors in the yard. The new season can also bring along dangers for our pets, and the last thing you would want is an accident causing the death of one of your beloved pets, which might mean a summertime pet memorial. Here are some tips to help your family and pets stay safe this summer.
Warm weather means it is time to plant pretty flowers in the yard. However, many species of plants and flowers are poisonous to pets. And plant pesticides can also be deadly for your pets. Your veterinarian should have a complete list of plants and flowers in your area that should be avoided. Also make sure to check the labels of gardening products you purchase for pet safety or use organic pesticides and fertilizer in your garden.
Common flowers that are poisonous include: Amaryllis, Azalea, Chrysanthemums, Cyclamen, Daffodils, Easter cactus, Hyacinth, Lilies, Narcissus, Oleander, and Tulips. Even your pet birds can die from chewing on a Lilly.
Did you know that mulch sometimes contains cocoa bean shells which dogs love to chew on? When ingested this can lead to problems so make sure to check the bags of mulch you purchase to see if there are any cocoa beans inside.
Just like humans, pets can get allergies too so keep an eye out for itchy skin irritations, ear infections, loss of hair, or a runny nose and sneezing. Also pets with pink noses can be sensitive to the sun, requiring sunscreen if they are outdoors for long periods of time. Make sure to check with your veterinarian.
For outdoor pets, make sure they have plenty of light after dark. Older dogs and cats can begin to get blind so they need light, just like people, to see better in darkness.
Check often for spider webs, mice and rodent droppings in sheds or garages, then make sure you call an expert if needed to remove them. You might want to look around your yard and remove glass, toys and items such as bottle caps, nails, tires or jagged edged tools. Check to see if there are any buckets or toys, like wagons, that could collect water. Then remove all “standing water” and turn these items upside down. Make sure that you change the water often in all ponds or pools.
Holes in the yard should be filled. Check around your barbecue and make sure gasoline, kerosene, or propane is sealed in tamper-proof containers away from fire area. Also, the last thing anyone wants is for a pet to escape through a hole in the fence, and get hit by a car – so check fences often to prevent this.
Family members should be prepared for emergencies so have your vet’s number handy for everyone to locate, including housekeepers and babysitters. Almost every town also has a 24 hour emergency clinic, so post that number where everyone can easily find it too.
If an unavoidable accident happens, or an older pet dies, this is also something that your family should be prepared for. Have a serious talk with your family about how they envision dealing with the death of a pet. Think about cremation versus burial. And remember, when a pet dies, children often take this news hard and it can be helpful to let them participate in choosing a lovely garden grave marker, or a pet urn for their friend. Help them through it by allowing them to have a pet memorial service. Teach children that death is simply a part of life, and although it’s very sad, this too will pass as time goes on. You can encourage them to share their memories and photos of their pet on one of the websites especially for grieving lost pets.