Keep your pets healthy in warmer weather

Ashley Hunt

With nice weather approaching, pet owners are giving their indoor pets more outside time. Taking your pets outside during warmer weather can pose several health threats to your pet.

Pet shop owners from Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe and the Ark offer their friendly advice on how to keep your pets healthy during the spring and summer months.

Fleas and ticks

Taking your pets outside exposes them to fleas and ticks. Dale Dyvig, owner of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, recommends flea collars for your dog or cat to prevent fleas and ticks.

Dyvig’s sells flea collars for around $5. If your dog or cat does get fleas, Dyvig’s also sells four-month control products that will kill the pests.

David Metcalf, owner of the Ark, offered some more specific advice on flea medicine. Metcalf said he believes Advantix II to be the best product available.

“With this medicine, the fleas will actually jump off the skin. The medicine actually repels the fleas,” Metcalf said. “Frontline is another good medicine, but with this, the fleas will actually burrow into the animals skin. They actually die when they bite the animal.”

Both of these medicines are more expensive than flea collars, costing anywhere from $18 to $25. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Metcalf said, the Ark offers Bio Spot, which is not as effective in the long-term.

Heat exhaustion 

Another threat that comes with the warmer weather is the possibility of heat exhaustion. One simple way to avoid heat exhaustion with your pet is to make sure not to keep your pet tied up in the sun. If you do keep your pet tied up outside, make sure it has access to a cool, shady spot, Dyvig said.

Also important is making sure your pet has access to water at all times. Dyvig said to always bring a water bottle with you when taking your pet on a walk during warmer weather.

Metcalf recommended doing this as well. He also said that bringing a spray bottle and spraying your pet down while you’re outside can help.

It can take anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours, sometimes less, for the heat to have an effect on your pet, Metcalf said. Owners need to constantly make sure their pet’s water is fresh.

“When it’s really hot, we do children’s swimming pools outside,” Metcalf said. “The dogs really love playing in them and it helps keep them cool. Dogs also love running through sprinklers.”

As a pet owner, the most important thing to keeping your pet healthy is water, Metcalf said.

“It’s our responsibility as owners to make sure our pets always have access to water and as much water as possible,” Metcalf said.

Dyvig said that sometimes people can forget the dangers of keeping their pets locked up in cars during warmer weather.

“ People can forget how hot it gets in the summer months,” Dyvig said. “In a matter of minutes, it heats up enough to where you could lose your pet.”

To avoid this, keep at least one or two windows completely down in your vehicle.

The heat can even affect pets indoors in apartments or houses without air conditioning. Metcalf said to make sure water is easily accessible for your pets while indoors.

Even reptiles will adapt differently to the heat.

“If you take your reptile outside, it can get hyped up like it’s on its second cup of coffee,” Metcalf said. “Reptiles will become more active when outside, and it is something they do enjoy.”


A lot of times, college students live in apartments with decks on the second or third floor of the building. People will sometimes keep their cat tied up on the deck. Dyvig said if you do this, use a breakaway collar for your cat to avoid serious injury should your cat decide to try jump off the balcony.

Despite possible complications and threats to your pets, both Dyvig and Metcalf both said they believe it’s important to take advantage of the nicer weather and to take your pets outside.

“It’s a great time to enjoy your dog or cat,” Dyvig said. “It gives them a chance to exercise and it gives you as an owner a chance to exercise as well.”

Metcalf said he agrees that it’s important to take your pets outdoors.

“Take your pet outside and let them play. It’s the way God designed them — to be outside,” Dyvig said.