How to Keep Your Pet Healthy This Summer

Summer can be risky for your cats and dogs. Here’s how to protect them.

Summer can be risky for your cats and dogs. Here’s how to protect them
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Teach them to swim. Water safety is important, especially if your pet is going to be around a swimming pool. It's best to teach your animals how to get in and out of the pool, so if they ever fall in when you're not around, they'll be able to get out. "The best way to teach them is to use treats – and praise and encouragement," Almeida says. "Be really gentle, and help them learn how to do it before it's ever an issue." If your pets are joining you on a boating trip, make sure they wear lifejackets – yes, they come in dog form. And if Fido is going swimming at the beach, make sure he doesn't swallow salt water, which can be toxic to animals.

[Read: Your Own Personal Canine Medical Helper.]

Keep their coats long. Seems like it'd make sense to shave your dogs for the summer, no? Au contraire: "Not only will it make them more prone to sunburn, but their coat actually acts as insulation," Murray says. Indeed, an animal's coat helps regulate temperature extremes and keep its body at a moderate temperature.

Train pets to tolerate fireworks. Some pets are so frightened by the booming noises that they manage to escape – and then keep running and running. Shelters see a spike in stray animals after holidays like the Fourth of July. Keep your pets inside during fireworks, and develop a positive association with the loud noises. "I used to give my dogs a couple treats the first couple booms, and now, they don't even wake up when they hear it," Almeida says.