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Summer Time Health and Safety Tips for Your Pet
It's summer time and that means special care for our pets.
Summertime temperatures and humidity, parked cars, jogging, beaches, swimming pools
and "the wind in your face" can be hazardous to your pet's health.
- Leave your pets at home: Don't let that eager look as you pull out the keys cloud
your judgment. Even if you park in the shade and there's a nice breeze blowing outside,
the temperature inside a car can shoot up to dangerous levels within minutes (120 degrees
or higher!) even with the windows down. Unlike humans, pets cannot perspire to cool
themselves. The movement of air into and out of the lungs allows them to maintain their
normal body temperature. Panting and salivation are outward signs that your pet is
overheating. When humidity and temperature exceed beyond the point at which these cooling
mechanisms can maintain body heatstroke results which - and that can mean permanent brain
damage or even death to your pet. So don't take chances with your pet's life - leave him
- Shelter: Dogs and cats need to have a cool place to stay when the summer
temperatures soar, either inside or out. When it's really hot, the shade from a tree will
not keep your pet cool enough. He needs a doghouse or other shelter to protect from the
heat. Dogs and cats can get sunburned just like people. Their ears and noses which are not
protected by thick fur are especially susceptible.
- Water: Make sure your pet always has access to cool, clean water, especially in
the summer heat. Refill overturned bowls and freshen water, but never give your pet ice
water, which can shock the system, and cause severe upsets.
- Beach and Pool: If you take your pet to the beach, be sure to provide ample shade
as well, and hose him down after he has swum in the salt water. Protect your pet's feet
from the hot sand or pavement. Dog's and cat's foot pads are very sensitive to heat and
can easily blister.
While many pets love to swim, chlorinated water
irritates your pets
eyes, and heat and sunlight around a pool are intense. Never leave your pet unattended
around a pool. Once in, a dog cannot get out without help, and may soon panic and drown.
- Ticks and Fleas: Carefully go over your pets body at least once a week to check
for fleas, ear mites and tiny bumps or cuts. Bring your pet to the vet for a spring/summer
check-up and use a good flea and tick repellant that your veterinarian recommends. This
can come in the form of a dietary supplement or a powder or spray.
Hair is a natural
insulator whether the it is warm or cool. In the summer, an animal's coat insulates
against sun, heat and insect bites. Regular brushing removes dirt and loose undercoat,
which cleans and cools your pet. When you brush, check around the ears, between toes,
along the legs, at the lower abdomen and base of tail.
- Travel: If you plan to take your pet on a long car trip, take him on several
short trips to condition him for the journey. Travel can be very stressful for a pet: try
to eliminate as much of the stress as possible. When taking your dog in the car have your
pet ride completely inside the car with you, just like any other member of the family.
Pets allowed to ride with their heads out the window and those relegated to the back of a
pick-up truck are in danger of injury from debris embedding itself in their eyes,
nostrils, ear canals, and throat. Pets riding in the back of a pick-up truck can overheat
from the sun off reflected roadways or be injured during a rough ride, or actually be
thrown out onto the road, if you brake suddenly.
- Exercise: Dogs are naturally designed for sprinting, not for uninterrupted running
or jogging. During such exercise, the body temperature rises faster than excess heat can
be dissipated. In the summer, exercise of any kind should be cut back and limited to the
cooler, early morning or later evening hours.
Check here for tips on cold weather care.
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Monday March 07, 2011