Summer is almost here! After the last few months of being stuck indoors and #HealthyatHome, many Kentuckians are hoping to use warm summer weather and sunny skies as an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and explore.
“We often think of summer as an idyllic time with long days and more opportunity to get outside,” said Katie Blakeley, CEO of PetFirst. “Outdoor exercise can be good for you and your pet, but there are a few safety precautions you should take.”
A recent PetFirst Pet Insurance poll found that many pet owners have summer- or heat-related health concerns for their pets, including:
- Bites, stings and sprays: About 27 percent of respondents reported that their pet had a negative encounter with wildlife – including wasps, skunks and porcupines! About 80 percent of respondents said they keep their pets on a leash when walking. That helps, but even with a leash you must watch out for other animals on your walk or hike.
- Stay hydrated: Good news! More than 83 percent of poll respondents said they always bring water for their pet. But several did report having a pet become dehydrated. Always keep a supply of water with you.
- Fun in the sun: Not so fun with a pet sunburn! Be sure to watch out for heat rash and other signs of skin discomfort. Nearly 14% mentioned that their pet wears protective covering or shoes while outside and 10% mentioned applying pet-safe sunscreen to their pets. But 55 percent had not heard of pet sunscreen.
- One is the lonliest number: Nearly 70% think their pet gets lonesome when owners travel during the summer months. If you are traveling this summer, consider taking your pet with you or arranging for them to stay with friends or family.
- Safe at sea: Even for dogs who love the water, it’s possible to “get in over their heads.” A smart 32 percent mentioned keeping a lifejacket, for humans and pets alike, on hand when boating. Even pools can be a danger for pets who aren’t swimmers. Additionally, if your pet takes a dip in the pool, be sure to rinse off any chlorine or other pool chemicals after.
Just like for humans, summer can be a tough time for pets with allergies, and this summer is shaping up to be no exception. PetFirst data showed a 50% increase in allergy related claims in April – for allergy shots, creams and vet visits. Many of the precautionary measures for pet allergies are much like humans – check the pollen counts, try and keep your pet out of long grasses and weeds and be sure to check with your vet if your pet is licking excessively or chewing their fur.