Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
|Tips for Summer Pet Safety
WASHINGTON – With the summer months in full swing, you may find yourself spending extra time outdoors walking your dog or leaving screened windows open for your cat to enjoy the breeze. However, the hot weather also means taking extra precautions for pets. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation's largest animal protection organization, offers tips for ensuring that summer is fun and safe for your dog or cat.
"Protection from the heat, parasites, car safety, and sterilizing your pet are some of the issues that, while important year-round, need extra attention during the summer months," said Nancy Peterson, issues specialist for the companion animals division of The HSUS.
Fun in the Sun
Make sure that your pet has protection from heat and sun (a dog house does not provide relief from heat) and plenty of fresh water when outdoors. Heat stroke can be fatal for pets as well as people.
With more time being spent outside, make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tag.
Pets sunburn, too – use sunscreen on his nose and ears if necessary. Pets with light-colored noses or fur are especially vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours and be especially careful with short-nosed dogs and those with thick coats. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws.
Keep your cat indoors. Cats who are permitted to go outside unattended are at an increased risk of disease and injury from vehicles or other animals. Visit The HSUS Safe Cats campaign at www.safecats.org.
People often fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens during the summer months, but be aware that certain plants, plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be fatal if ingested by pets.
Pets and pools can equal disaster – enclose pool areas to prevent free access and supervise pets when around the pool.
Take care in choosing flea and tick control products, as some can be harmful. Only use products recommended by your veterinarian and not over the counter products.
Dogs and cats are at an increased risk of contracting heartworm during the summer. Transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito, heartworm disease can be fatal if not treated. Check with your veterinarian for the best schedule for heartworm testing and preventive medication for your pet.
Riding in Cars With Pets
Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car. On warm days, the temperature in your car can rise to dangerous levels in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. If you see an animal in a parked car in the summer, alert the management of the shopping area or grocery store. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police.
As idyllic and carefree as it may seem, do not allow dogs to ride with their heads out of the window since injury could occur from flying debris. Animals should be kept in the car in a crate or wearing a specially designed seatbelt harness for dogs.
Dogs should never ride in the open bed of pick-up trucks, and some states have laws that restrict such transport. If forced to make a sudden or evasive driving maneuver, a dog could be thrown from the truck and seriously or even fatally injured.
In the summer months, animal shelters are filled to capacity with litters of puppies and kittens, highlighting the need for spaying and neutering all year-round. The HSUS estimates that six to eight million cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters each year and one-third to one-half of them are euthanized due to lack of good homes. Spayed or neutered pets have significantly less risk of reproductive cancers and reduced potential for aggressive behavior.
Link: http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publicati ... afety.html
Consider your pet's housing. If they are kept outdoors, do they have shade and fresh water access at all times? I have treated one case of heat stroke in a dog that did indeed have shade and water while tethered under a deck, but had gotten the chain stuck around a stake in the middle of the yard -- no water or shade for hours. If you live in a warm climate, it is a good idea to hose down the dog before work, at lunch or whenever you can to provide extra cooling (if you dog is not over heated in the first place).
Signs of heat stroke include (but are not limited to): body temperatures of 104-110F degrees, excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, coma, death. Brachycephalic breeds (the short-nosed breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs), large heavy-coated breeds, and those dogs with heart or respiratory problems are more at risk for heat stroke.
Link: http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/summeri ... safety.htm
Bring them inside. Animals shouldn't be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in the shade. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and pets can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your pet in the backyard, keep a close eye on her and bring her in when you can.
(Some excellent info at this site!)
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