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Post Categories: Pet Health Tips

Keep Your Pets Safe During Outdoor Adventures

Dogs, and even some cats love to accompany their humans on hikes, trips to the beach, boating, camping, and just sitting in the park enjoying the fresh air. Here in the Thousand Oaks area, we have an amazing array of outdoor activities available to us, and while we encourage you to include your pet on local adventures, we want you to be aware of some of the hazards that can come up while you’re exploring.


  • High heat and sunshine can cause dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn in animals. Signs of heat distress include excessive panting, lethargy, seizures, lack of coordination, increased heart rate, and can quickly result in death without immediate veterinary intervention. Pets can’t cool their bodies as efficiently as we do, so it’s critical they always have access to shade and plenty of fresh water.
  • Never leave your pet in your car. Temperatures inside your vehicle can climb to fatal levels in minutes even on a 75-degree day in the shade. If your pet can’t come with you, leave them safely at home.


  • YouTube videos notwithstanding, cats and rabbits really don’t like swimming and many dogs don’t like it or aren’t very good at it. Don’t force them to swim.
  • Boating can be an enjoyable activity for your pet, just make sure they’re enjoying it safely with floatation devices made for their size.
  • Sadly, many pets drown in swimming pools every summer because there’s no simple way for them to get out. Make sure your pool has a way for your pet to climb out easily, and train them to use it.



  • The sun heats up streets and sidewalks to temperatures hot enough to burn your pet’s pads. Use booties for protection, or only take your pet out during the early morning or late evening when surfaces have cooled. Consider the five-second rule… If you can’t keep the palm of your hand on the ground for more than five seconds, then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws too!
  • Hiking trails, parks, and even your backyard can harbor thorns and thistles that can get lodged in feet, ears, and long coats. Brush your cat or dog after being outside and make sure to check them thoroughly for ticks and/or cheatgrass awns that can burrow into the skin, particularly between their toes.
  • In our area, most snakes are harmless, but venomous rattlesnakes can be found along trails so be snake-aware when you’re out hiking. And keep them on a leash at all times. Learn more about snake bites and dogs here.
  • Summer is the time for parties and backyard get-togethers. If your pet is a party animal, let them join the fun but keep them from ingesting all those hot dogs and never give pets alcohol. If your pet is the quiet type, keep them in a closed room where they can relax away from the activity.

Be Prepared

Bring a smaller, travel ready version of your home pet first aid kit when you’re out adventuring.


  • Absorbent gauze pads to staunch bleeding and use under vet wrap
  • Non-adhesive vet wrap to cover wounds
  • Antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes
  • Scissors to trim fur near a wound or to cut tape or cloth
  • Tape to secure wound dressings
  • Eye wash/saline to rinse your pet’s eyes if they’re sprayed by a skunk, or to wash out a foreign object
  • Tick Nipper to remove the whole tick, including the mouth
  • Phone numbers for your primary care veterinarian and your emergency veterinarian

An active lifestyle is healthy for you and your pets! We hope these tips help you enjoy the wonderful activities Thousand Oaks and all of southern California have to offer. Remember, VSEC is here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if you need us for any urgent medical need.