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    Outdoor Pet Safety  

Many people enjoy outside activities and leisure time with a pet. Here are some simple tips to help keep your dog or cat safe when they enjoy the great outdoors.

Identify your pet. An identification tag is a simple and inexpensive way to put your name and telephone number, as well as the pet’s name, on a collar. The drawback is that tags and collars can come off. Other forms of ID include tattoos and microchips.

Think safety. Unless very well-trained or in an enclosed environment, your dog or cat should be on a leash. Being hit by a car is one of the most common injuries a pet can sustain outside. Do not leave a chain collar or pronged training collar on your dog unsupervised, as metal rings may become caught on outdoor items. Similarly, do not leave a pet on a run cable or chain near a fence — pets have been known to hang themselves accidentally when they scrambled over or jumped a too-low fence.

Keep your pet groomed. Spring, summer and fall all provide the chance for fleas and ticks from the great outdoors to infest your pet. Check your pet’s skin and coat close to the skin for parasites. Using a fine comb will help. Do not shave your pet down to the skin if he or she spends a lot of time outside. Hair provides protection from the sun (a dog can get sunburned) and insulation from heat as well as cold.

Public areas, such as parks, require good pet manners. Be sure your pet is vaccinated for Rabies, a Distemper/Parvo combination and Bordetella. Many diseases are contagious through air or ground contamination. Early socialization in a dog’s life will make him an enjoyable pet to walk and play with around other pets and people. If you know your pet is not friendly, then take steps to prevent any negative interactions with others or find quiet, isolated areas to enjoy your pet’s company alone.

Many pets, especially dogs, like to travel with their owners. Never leave pets alone in hot vehicles and remember to bring along their leash and water. Although many dogs love to ride with their heads out the window, this can be a source of eye irritation and damage, not to mention a route of escape if they jump or fall from the vehicle.

Keep a pet First Aid Kit in the glove compartment or trunk for any minor injuries that may occur when you are away from home.

Your dog or cat will love being with you and savors the outdoors as much as you do. A bit of planning and using common sense will keep outdoor ventures a happy experience.

This article is provided as a general overview of the topic. Always consult your veterinarian for specific information related to diseases or medical care for pets.

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