We love our pets, and we love our steamy San Antonio summers, but in order to ensure our pets can safely enjoy the summer too, special precautions should be taken during these hottest months. Follow these tips to make sure your furry friend can beat the heat this summer:
- Avoid the hottest part of the day when walking your dog. Instead of walking your dog in the afternoon when our San Antonio temperatures can peak at 90 degrees, choose the cooler early morning or evening hours instead. Also consider bringing along water for your dog on your walk. Monitor outdoor play times too. Your dog may start to overheat before you observe any symptoms of distress.
- Pay special attention to older pets. As pets age they are more likely to overheat during hot weather. If you have an older dog or cat, consider keeping him inside as much as possible during the heat.
- Provide outdoor shade and water. If you typically leave your pet outside for long periods of time, he must have access to a cool, shaded shelter and water. Fill your pet’s water bowl with ice and choose a plastic, tip-proof water bowl rather than a metal bowl that can heat up quickly. Also consider providing a wading pool to help your pet cool off.
- Provide access to cool indoor locations. Make sure your cat has access to cooler parts of your home, such as areas with tile floors and rooms that do not get too much sun.
- Resist the urge to shave your dog. Proper grooming is important during hot summer months especially for dogs that shed, but if you have a longhaired dog, he likely does not need to be shaved during the summer. Your dog’s coat can protect him from sunburn and can act as cooling insulation. Talk to your vet about the proper way to groom your dog.
- Travel safely. If you are going to let your dog ride in the back of an open vehicle such as a truck, make sure he is safely tethered to the center and cannot reach the sides of the vehicle. Truck beds and metal surfaces can get extremely hot in the summer and can burn paw pads, so make sure your pet is able to sit or stand on a cool, slip proof surface.
- Never leave your pet in a locked car. Most importantly, never leave your pet in a locked, parked car, even with the windows cracked. A dog or cat can overheat or suffer heat stroke in a locked car in only a matter of minutes. On an 85-degree day in San Antonio, for example, the temperature inside a locked car can reach 120 degrees in less than ten minutes. If you see a pet left alone in a parked car, please call 911.
By following these summer safety tips both you and your pet can enjoy the dog days of summer safely and happily before they’re gone.
Purchasing an insurance policy is about more than dollars and cents. It’s about protecting all that you value, which is why most insurance purchasers want an expert to guide them through the policy review and decision-making process to ensure they are making the right decisions for optimal protection. What is essential in selecting an insurance agent is choosing a partner with expertise and knowledge in your local marketplace as well as the types of policies you are considering. Ideally, just like when choosing a physician, mechanic, or hair stylist, you should strive to find an insurance agent partner with whom you can build a trusted, long-term relationship. An agent who knows you and what you value, can be a valuable partner to you in return. Follow these ten steps for identifying an insurance agent you can trust long term:
- Consider an independent agent. Since independent agents represent several different companies, they are able to evaluate options and provide recommendations objectively.
- Review credentials. Make sure that any agent you work with is licensed to sell the coverage you are seeking in the state in which you reside.
- Investigate complaints. Check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIS) Consumer Information Source (CIS), call your state insurance department, or contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If several complaints have been filed against an agent you are considering, you may want to expand your search options until you find an agent whose client history makes you feel more comfortable.
- Review professional designations. If an agent has earned a designation such as CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter) or CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), you can be confident that he/she has earned a prestigious designation, which should speak to his/her expertise. Similarly, if the agent is an active participant in local and/or national insurance organizations, it is likely an indication of his/her long-term commitment to the industry and high knowledge base.
- Experience matters. Ask how long the agent has been in the business and serving your market. As is true of other service experts, more experience means more knowledge, which will help you get the best policy.
- If you need specialized coverage, seek a specializing agent. Farm insurance? Classic cars insurance? Pet insurance? Find an agent with proven experience with these policies.
- Ask to speak with previous clients. A reputable agent should be able to provide current and/or previous client references for you to contact. Ask the references about their experiences and satisfaction with the agent before you commit to a policy purchase.
- Get to know the team: Your agent may assist you with the initial policy purchase and renewals, but whom will you contact throughout the year for general questions and transactions? Make sure you are comfortable and familiar with all of the members of your service team.
- Emergency contact details. Know whom to contact in case of an emergency or after hours. Emergencies don’t usually occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Policy renewal process. Renewals are just as important as initial policy decisions. Make sure your agent will meet with you annually to review changes to your coverage needs, present multiple renewal options, and negotiate for the best renewal rates possible.
After you’ve done your research and identified an insurance agent who has the experience, qualifications, and knowledge to help you choose the policy you need, you’ll be well positioned to begin a long-term partnership with an agent you can rely on.