People ignore summer pet safety and hundreds of dogs and cats die every summer. A lot of other dogs and cats get really sick because their pet parents don’t do all they should to protect them.
Mom (Bettina Altizer) is having a really busy week. I go to work with her almost every day. I offered to help, so she said I could write this blog post. I’m sort of an expert on summer pet safety. So, here are my summer pet safety tips.
- NEVER, never, never, ever leave a pet in a car. And leaving a small open space at the top of a window is not enough help. Take your pet along. On a day when the temperature is 78 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in the shade will be 90 degrees. If the car is in the sun, the temperature can reach 160 degrees or more.
- Always take water and a bowl when you and your pet go outside. Most animals cool themselves by drinking water and panting.
- Some pet parents put a kiddy pool in the yard for their pets to play in and keep cool.
- If it is very hot, you can spray water on our stomachs and paws. We will cool off faster.
- Be really careful with pets that have flat faces. These would be like pugs or Persian Cats. They have a lot of trouble panting because of the short mouth. They can get heat stroke really easily. Also be careful about pets that have heart or lung disease.
- Please mind the paws. When we walk or stand on asphalt or metal, our paws get really hot, and can even burn our paws. It also raises our body temperature. Hot metal is a good reason to avoid putting your pet in the back of a pickup truck. Some dogs wear shoes to protect their paws.
- Get us in the shade as often as possible.
- If you have a barbecue or a party, don’t let your guests feed grapes, onions, chocolate, and other harmful foods to your pets.
- If you cool or ventilate your home with open windows, you probably need screens in the windows so they don’t fall out and get hurt (especially cats).
- Keep your pets away from fireworks. Sometimes people are careless with fireworks. That could result in painful burns or injuries. Some fireworks are made with really nasty chemicals (like arsenic or potassium nitrate). You should also understand that the loud low noise of fireworks can be really scary. One trainer told a friend’s mom that the lower the sound the more frightening it is because lots of big things (like trucks) make low sounds. Big bass drums are sooooo scary. So help you pet know he or she is safe.
- Not all dogs (and not many cats) can swim. Don’t just throw a pet into water. Introduce it slowly, a little at a time.
- If you take a pet on a boat, always have them wear a floatation device.
- After swimming, your pet needs to be rinsed with clear water to remove the chlorine or salt from their coat. It’s itchy.
- Don’t let a pet drink pool water. The chlorine is yucky.
- Talk to your vet and protect all pets from parasites, like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. They are really bad in the summertime.
- Don’t let you pet overexert in hot weather.
- Don’t shave your pet in the summer. Every pet has the right kind of coat (thank mother nature for that). It is made to keep us warm in winter and cool in summer. If you must cut your pet’s hair, leave it at least 1 inch long to protect their skin.
- Use pet sunscreen so we don’t get sunburned.
- If you want to take your pet for a walk, it is best to do it early in the morning or late at night. It’s cooler then.
- If you take your pet away from home, always carry his or her ID. (A micro-chip is even better)
- Take a pet first aid kit when you leave home. There are special kits for dogs and cats.
Finally, keep an eye on your pet and watch for signs of distress. Just as a reminder, they are:
- Excessive panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Mild weakness
- Bloody diarrhea and vomit
- Elevated body temperature over 104 degrees.
I hope these tips will help you keep your pets safe this summer. Summer pet safety is important for your pet.
Oh, by the way. My name is Ziva. It means fierce, like my mom when she is working for a client. If you have been in the Altizer Law, P.C., office, you probably know me because I greet you and walk you to the door when you leave. That’s my official job. But I have a shirt that says I’m really boss of everything.