By Amy Howell Hirt
Summer Pet Health
For many of us, summer opens up new opportunities for fun with our pets, from swimming to hitting the open road. But the warmer weather also brings new, and potentially harmful, risks for dogs and cats. Here are a few reminders for keeping your furry family members safe and healthy this season.

  • Be heat-sensitive. Dogs and cats can quickly become dehydrated, so always provide plenty of fresh drinking water and adequate shade if pets are left outdoors. Take extra precautions if the humidity is high, since humidity can inhibit animals' ability to cool themselves. Pets who are elderly, overweight, have heart or lung conditions or a flat face, such as pugs and Persian cat breeds, are more susceptible to heat stroke and should be kept in an air-conditioned space during the hottest hours—typically 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Be proactive. Start the summer with a trip to the veterinarian to ensure your pet hasn't developed any health conditions that could be exacerbated by the heat. This is also the time to begin preventive treatments for fleas, ticks and heartworms. If your pet doesn't take year-round heartworm medication, a blood test will be needed first.

    Many pets become more active and spend more time outdoors during the summer, so this is also the ideal time to consider proactive plans for emergencies. Make sure your pet wears an I.D. tag that lists your phone number in case he wanders away from home. It’s also a good idea to consider pet insurance, such as ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, which offers coverage for illnesses and accidents.
  • Avoid poisons. Citronella candles, insecticides and mouse and rat bait are just a few common summertime items that can cause severe illness and death for cats and dogs. Many garden plants and favorite picnic foods, like onions and grapes, can also be toxic for pets and should be kept out of their reach. When walking your dog, don't forget to steer clear of neighbors' yards that have been treated with chemicals. If you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
  • Practice water safety. Even dogs who like to swim should never be left unattended near any body of water. Slippery surfaces, hard concrete and unpredictable tides all can create life-threatening situations.

    Boating dogs should wear a life jacket at all times, and shouldn't swim in lakes or ponds that have blue-green algae. If your pet ingests the algae by drinking the water or licking tainted fur, it can quickly cause severe sickness or seizures.
  • Travel smart. Road trip time? Pets should ride in the back seat and be restrained with a pet seat belt, crate or seat barrier to minimize injury in an accident. Make sure your pet has access to fresh drinking water and take regular bathroom breaks. When planning your trip, locate emergency veterinary hospital nearest your destination, as well as those along your route.

    Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle—even if the windows are down. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes, according to the Humane Society. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees—potentially causing irreversible organ damage or death.
Wherever the summer takes you, protecting your pet's health is the first step toward many more happy adventures in the years to come.

Save up to 20% on ASPCA Pet Health Insurance1

Pet medical emergencies never happen when you expect them. They happen when your dog grabs a chocolate cupcake off the counter, or when your cat nibbles on a houseplant. With today's advanced veterinary care, more sophisticated treatments are available for pets. That's great news—though it comes at a cost.

When you help protect your pet with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, you'll be reimbursed for up to 90% of covered veterinary costs. Our affordable plan options are designed to give you the coverage you need when it counts.

Don't wait until something happens. Get your free, no obligation quote today. Your savings will automatically be applied.

1Discounts apply to base plan premium. 20% savings includes 10% group discount, where available, plus 10% multiple pet discount for each additional pet.

The information herein is summarized. All pet insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Specific products, features, rates, and discounts may vary by state, eligibility, and are subject to change. Reimbursements are based on a percentage of usual and customary eligible costs. Additional deductible and co-insurance options are available.

Plans are underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company and administered by Fairmont Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. (FSIA Insurance Agency in CA), members of the Crum & Forster Enterprise. U0514-EB01

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