We all love our animal friends—furry or scaly, they provide us companionship and entertainment. In return, we provide our pets with food, shelter, exercise, and other care. We do the best it can when it comes to caring for our four- (or two-, or three-, or no-) legged friends, but sometimes there may be situations where you’re not quite sure what to do. Read on to find out what to do in a few special and apartment-specific cases related to your pet’s health.
Pet pool safety
Spot may be able to swim, but that doesn’t mean the pool is safer for him than for a non-swimming animal. Pool chemicals can be harsh and hazardous to animals, so supervise your pup, kitty, or other animal when it’s near water, or—better yet—keep the animal out of the pool enclosure altogether. Drinking pool water can be hazardous for animals, so make sure your feathered, furred, or otherwise non-human friends are well-hydrated and not tempted to lap at the little pool waves. A small amount of pool water shouldn’t hurt an animal, but do what you can to prevent your pooch or feline from ingesting large quantities.
Beyond chemicals, pools pose unique obstacles for animals. Stairs and ladders are designed for feet and hands, not paws, and it can be difficult for animals to find their way out of a pool after they jump in. For this and other reasons, it’s usually best to keep critters away from the pool, or at least controlled while they’re near it.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a large amount of pool water or is otherwise in danger because of contact with pool chemicals or inhaling water, you should contact your vet immediately. You’ll probably need to head to an emergency veterinary hospital for assistance.
Pest prevention and pets
Pesticides aren’t good for pests, but they’re not great for your animals, either. You should be given a heads up beforehand if your apartment will be sprayed with pesticides, so you can arrange for your pets to be out of the apartment or holed up in a room that won’t get sprayed. If for any reason your apartment management sprays for pests while your pet is in the apartment, and you suspect this causes your pet to become ill, contact your veterinarian immediately for advice. You will likely need to take your animal in for evaluation. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline at (888) 4ANIHELP (426-4435) to get an understanding of what to do.
In addition to treating your pet’s health, you should investigate your recourse when it comes to your apartment management’s role in creating a dangerous situation for your pet. You may have signed a lease contract with a clause allowing management and maintenance to enter your apartment to perform necessary services such as pest elimination. Depending on the nature of your lease contract, you may not have a case against apartment management. However, try as hard as you can to work with your landlord to request that work not be done without prior notice so that you can plan ahead and make the situation safe both for your pets and for the people working on your apartment.
You can keep bugs out (for the most part) with pesticides and window screens, but you can’t get rid of bugs altogether. To protect Fluffy and Fido when they’re outdoors, consider investing in some bug spray made specifically for dogs and cats, or protect your apartment’s small yard or balcony (if you have one) with citronella or bug zappers. Be aware, though, that citronella could be harmful to animals if ingested, and bug zappers can also zap curious pets. And, when outdoors, don’t forget that the sun affects animals as well as humans. You can get pet sunscreen from a variety of sources, and always make sure that your animals have access to water and shade when spending any time outdoors in the heat.
Keeping cool in the car
Perhaps the most-repeated but least-obeyed health tip for pets in summer is never, ever to leave your pets unattended in the car. A car can become a sauna in a very short amount of time, regardless of whether the windows are open or the air conditioning is on. It’s easy to avoid, so just don’t ever leave an animal (or child, for that matter!) in a vehicle unattended. You and your pets will be happier and healthier for it.
With a little common sense and preparation, your pets can stay safe when faced with the dangers of chlorine and pesticides. Remain a responsible pet owner during all seasons of the year, and always call your vet if you’re in doubt.