4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Summer

By May 12, 2020SAFETY & YOUR PETS

Protect the Paws

You’ve likely seen the Facebook post circulating around this time of year—a photo originally posted by Moon Valley Canine Training in 2015 with this quick tip: “The five-second rule: Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it for five seconds, it’s too hot to walk your dog.” The post quickly went viral and for good reason—it’s a simple, common-sense message and an important reminder for pet owners who simply don’t think about how hot the pavement can impact their dogs. Forgoing paved areas for grassy spots for the dog to walk and play is advisable, and also avoid peak sun hours.

Recognizing the sign of Heat Stroke

Signs of heat stress in pets could include trouble breathing, excessive panting, increased heart rate, weakness or collapsing. A dog suffering a heatstroke may also exhibit increased salivation, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, vomiting or diarrhea. As heatstroke progresses, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest and, ultimately, death may also occur.

Remove the dog from the hot area and contact the veterinarian immediately if you suspect the dog is suffering from heat exhaustion. Always have the veterinarian’s information and a cell phone handy should you need to contact the vet in the case of an emergency. While transporting the dog to the vet, place cool, wet towels on the back of the dog’s neck, paws, belly and groin area to help lower body temperature.

On their website the Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff offers this piece of practical advice: “Use common sense and think of what it might feel like to wear a fur jacket (that cannot be removed) on a hot summer day.”

Avoid the Burn

Don’t forget, your pets have delicate skin. Did you know skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and the second-most common form in cats? Even though fur provides some protection, you should apply sunscreen to your pet’s least hair-covered spots.

If a dog is out during peak sun exposure hours, reapply sunscreen to sun-sensitive areas of the body—the nose, around the lips, tips of the ears, groin and belly—throughout the day. There are sunscreens made specifically for pets and any sunscreen you use should not contain fragrance, Zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). Sunscreen created specifically for canine use is the safest and most effective, but if you don’t have pet sunscreen, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen for babies and children with an SPF of 15 or higher—but read the label.

If your pet does get sunburn, applying pure aloe can help soothe irritation, but be sure to check with your veterinarian first to ensure the brand you have is safe for pets.

Never Leave a Dog in the Vehicle

According to the AVMA, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion each year because they are left in parked vehicles. Even with the windows cracked or the air conditioner running,

temperatures can rise quickly in a vehicle and put pets at risk of serious illness, or worse, death. Keep in mind that outside temperatures do not have to be extreme for cars to become dangerously hot for pets. The Humane Society of the United States’ website explains that with an outside temperature of just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, an automobile can have an inside temperature of up to 116 degrees within an hour—and on an 80 degree day, a car can heat up to 99 degrees within 10 minutes.

Should you see any pet left alone in a hot car, write down the make, model and license plate number of the car and, if possible, ask managers or security guards of nearby businesses to make an announcement to find the owner. If you can’t find the owner, call your local police or animal control and wait for them to arrive. In many states, good Samaritans can legally remove pets from automobiles under dangerous circumstances, but it’s important to know the laws in your area.


Have a Great Summer!


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