Summer 2012 Magazine

Hot Weather Tips

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car during the summer. Temperatures inside your car can rise to 120. If you see a cat or dog inside a parked car, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store. If no one responds, call the local animal control officer or police.

  • Don't drive with your dog in the back of a pick-up truck. It is extremely dangerous for your dog, who can be hit by flying debris or fall out of the truck into traffic if you stop suddenly, swerve or have an accident.

  • Plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be fatal to your pet if they are ingested. (See our "Pet Poisons" article for more on dangerous plants.)

  • Fluids that leak from vehicles are poisonous to animals. These fluids have a sweet taste that attracts animals. If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, call your veterinarian immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 4ANI-HELP.

  • Provide plenty of cool, clean water and shade for pets in the summer. Make sure the water is in a tip-proof bowl. If the water dish is outdoors, place it where it is always shaded.

  • Always keep cats indoors and bring dogs indoors during the hottest part of the day. If the dog must be outside, provide a dark, shady place where he can escape from the sun. A ventilated dog house, a pen with shade cover or a covered patio is good.

  • Pools and pets don't always mix. Be sure your pet doesn't have direct access to a pool and supervise your pet when he is in a pool.

  • Pets get sunburned, too. Your pet may require sunscreen on its nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur may be particularly vulnerable.

  • Don't take your pets to crowded areas such as concerts or fairs. Crowds, heat and noise can be stressful to an animal. Also, remember that many pets are frightened by loud noises such as firecrackers or Fourth of July celebrations. Be safe and leave your pets at home.

  • Limit exercise to early morning and evening when the temperatures are lower. Asphalt gets hot and can burn your pet's paws.

  • Short-muzzled, overweight and older dogs and cats are very susceptible to the heat. Keep them in cool or air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

  • Be alert to the signs of overheating: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness or staggering, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. Provide care by moving the animal to the shade and applying cool water over the whole body to gradually lower the core temperature. Allow the animal to drink small amounts of cool water or have access to ice cubes. Provide veterinary care as soon as possible.

  • Make sure your animal is well-groomed to prevent skin problems.

  • If you open your windows to let in fresh air, make sure the windows have screens so animals don't fall out or escape.

  • Most communities require shelter for dogs in the animal control ordinances. If you see a dog without protection from the elements, report this to your animal control agency.

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