Summer is the perfect time to get outside and play. And with kids running in and out of yards, there's plenty of opportunity for your pets to escape the safety of their yards and enclosures.
Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, a pet behavior consultant at Westwood Animal Hospital in Westwood, Kansas, says that summer brings lots of opportunities for dogs to get loose--and into trouble. Help keep pets safe with these safety tips.
1. Check your yard for escape routes. "Over the winter and spring storm season, fence gates can shift or holes can develop in or under fences," Dr. Hunthausen says.
2. Before your next outing, inspect your leash. Is it still in good shape or is it fraying?
3. Tag and microchip your pet. "We encourage all clients to microchip their pets," says Dr. Hunthausen. "At our practice, the number who microchip has increased every year, and we're still working to get even more to comply."
4. Protect your pet from loud noises. "Noise phobias are a big risk factor for escapes, especially around fireworks," he says. "On the Fourth of July, keep dogs secured inside away from the noise." Dr. Hunthausen also reminds clients that dogs who like to play fetch are at risk for fetching the wrong things--including thrown firecrackers. "Use common sense and keep pets away from this activity," he says.
5. For clients who carry their dogs in a truck, Dr. Hunthausen recommends securing the dog in a kennel rather than letting it ride loose in the back.
6. Use caution when visiting dog parks. Scope out the park ahead of time. Is it in a good neightborhood? Are the pet owners bringing friendly dogs and keeping them under control? Are the dogs about the same size and temperament as your pet?
7. Take some individual precautions. "With all of these activities and potential dangers, I talk to clients on a case-by-case basis," Dr. Hunthausen says. "If I know a client likes to jog with a pet, I talk more about leashes, heat exhaustion, and vaccinations. For clients who like to fish with their pets, I recommend using a life vest, because not all dogs are good swimmers. It all comes down to common sense, but we can all use a good reminder from time to time."