Spring has officially sprung and the weather is only going to get more beautiful throughout the Triangle area! With rising temps & gorgeous days comes more time to enjoy your outdoor space. It’s important to keep in mind that, with all of the extra time outside, you’re remembering to make sure that your pets are safe both in the yard and in the heat! All too often, we don’t think about the various ways that pets could be in danger when in our own backyard. Thankfully, there are plenty of things that we, as pet owners, can do to make sure the furriest members of our family are safe throughout the warmer months of the year.
In the yard:
It goes without saying that springtime and yardwork go hand-in-hand. While most yardwork is necessary, it’s important to follow these steps ensure your pets safety when they’re out and about.
- Clean up after your work. Make sure all of your tools and supplies are cleaned up as soon as you’ve finished with your project for the day. Remember, pets don’t understand the danger of trying to eat or step over tools and equipment and doing so could lead to serious injury or illness! It’s also important to note that it’s best to keep your pets inside while you’re getting work done around the yard.
- Always make sure to thoroughly read instructions. When you’re putting fertilizer or pesticides in the yard, make sure you are fully reading, and understand, all of the instructions. These, along with insect and critter baits/poisons, can be lethal for your pets if not handled correctly. Remember that it’s important to not only apply these items correctly but to also wait the instructed amount of time before letting your pets (or kids!) back outside around the treated areas.
- Ensure that you’re using safe mulch and compost. Both items are made from a variety of different materials. For mulch, there are a plethora of options that you can choose from that are absolutely pet safe! Make sure to stay away from cocoa mulch and you should be fine. As far as compost goes, there is so much that goes into this magic, natural, garden fertilizer, that it’s best to keep your pets away from it completely if you aren’t 100% certain of every ingredient it’s made of. Common items in compost such as coffee grounds, rotten produce and moldy foods are quite dangerous for many pets.
- Fence the yard if in you’re able. This will encourage predators to stay out of your yard and away from your pets (especially smaller dogs and cats) while also keeping your pets from getting in harm’s way in others’ yards or in the street. Remember that, even with a fence, some predators can still get into your yard. This is especially true for large predatory birds such as hawks and owls.
- Keep the grass maintained and regularly cut. Both fleas and ticks thrive in long grass and, even with preventatives, pose a big threat to your pets. The shorter your grass, the less likely they’ll run into these pests.
In the heat:
The heat that comes along with late spring and a southern summer can be quite dangerous for our pets and it’s up to us to make sure that they’re safe because they don’t always have a way to communicate that they’re overheating with us!
- Always check the temperature of the ground. If you’re taking your pets on a walk, make sure the surface isn’t too hot for them. Rule of thumb: put your hand on the ground for 5 seconds – if it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for their paws.
- Make sure they have ample amounts of fresh water. The hotter it gets, the more you need to be aware of their water bowls. Make sure there is always a large amount of water (both inside and out) for your pets to drink because they heat up faster than people do in the summer and need the water to regulate their hot body temperatures. If you’re taking them on a walk, always make sure to bring plenty of water with you for them to have throughout.
- NEVER leave them in the car alone! While many dogs love going for a ride in the car, it’s crucial that you don’t take them with you if you have to get out at any point. Even with the windows down, it only takes 20 minutes for a car to reach 100 degrees inside, when it’s only 70 degrees outside! So, always make sure that an adult can remain in your car, with the air conditioning on, when your dog goes along for the ride.
While it might seem like these precautions are overwhelming, it is actually quite simple to make sure your pets are safe both in the yard and in the heat – it just takes a little awareness! Once you’ve taken the necessary precautions, you’ll be ready to enjoy the best time of the year in the Triangle with the whole family!