August 10, 2011

Keep Your Pets Safe this Summer

By: Mary Pellegrini

Keep Your Pets Safe this Summer

We love our Tilly.  She is by my side pretty much 24/7.   She hikes with us and follows us around the yard.  We watch her very closely on these hot summer days and try to get her to the lake a few times a week.  I like it, too!  Here are a few tips to keep your Tilly’s safe this summer:

Never leave your pet in a car when you travel or do errands. During warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes, even if you’re parked in the shade. Dogs and cats can’t perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Pets left in hot cars even briefly can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can even die. To avoid any chance that your pet will succumb to the heat of a car this summer, leave your pet cool at home while you’re on the road. And if you do happen to see a pet in a car alone during the hot summer months, alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police department immediately.

  • Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.
  • Another summertime threat is fleas and ticks. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.
    Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Don’t take your pets to crowded summer events such as concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets. For your pet’s well being, leave her at home.If your pet is exposed to high temperatures:
  • Be alert for signs of heat stress-heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
  • If your pet becomes overheated, you must lower her body temperature immediately.
  • Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over her body to gradually lower her temperature.
  • Apply ice packs or cool towels to your pet’s head, neck, and chest only.
  • Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Finally, take your pet directly to a veterinarian-it could save her life.

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