Dog in car

Summer is a time for both you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors, but along with the fun, the season also offers up situations that can endanger your pet. 

The following are a few tips for pet owners to keep their furry friends safe this summer.

• Keep pets indoors. If your dog must stay outside, be sure he has plenty of clean, cool water in a non-metal, spill-proof container. Outdoor dogs may enjoy a baby pool filled with fresh water to relax in as the temperature climbs. Keep the pool in the shade. Be aware that an in-ground swimming pool is NOT sufficient for drinking water, and a dog may inadvertently fall in and drown while attempting to drink water. As always, watch your children around water, such as large dog dishes and play pools.

• Be sure your outdoor pets have shelter that is clean, ventilated and has adequate air circulation, preferably in an area that is shaded all day.

• Walk your pet early in the morning or in the cooler evening hours. Never walk your pet during the heat of the day. Avoid the hot pavement, which will burn and blister your dog’s paws, just as it would your own bare feet. On a hot summer day, asphalt temperatures can reach 160 degrees. If your dog must walk on hot asphalt (in the case of assistance dogs) be sure he is outfitted with booties to protect his paws.

• Do not exercise your pet strenuously. Avoid extra-long walks, hikes or excessive play. Just like people, our pets can be overcome by heat exhaustion if they “overdo it” on a hot day. But unlike people, they cannot speak up when they need water or a rest. 

• Never leave your pet in a parked car. On a hot summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach a deadly level within minutes. Arizona now has a law that is aimed at allowing good Samaritans to take action without risk of civil liability if they rescue a child or a pet from a hot car. There are a few steps before taking action. First, call 911. Second, determine is the vehicle is locked. If it is unlocked, open a door to enter the vehicle. If the car is locked, you may break a window, but do not use more force than is necessary. Finally, after you have opened the car for the child or pet, remain with them until authorities arrive. 

• Watch for these signs of heat exhaustion: loud, rapid panting; rapid pulse; glazed eyes; excessive salivation; elevated body temperature; excessive whining or agitation and vomiting. Even just one of these symptoms can indicate your  pet is in danger. Immediately cool your pet down. Place him in the shade and sponge or hose him down with cool (not ice cold) water, especially on the head, feet and groin area. Give him small amounts of cool water to drink. Contact your veterinarian immediately. Heat can cause organ damage that may not show symptoms for days. Your pet needs an exam by your veterinarian even if he or she seems fine.

• Brush your pet’s coat to keep it free of mats. Use caution if you shave your pet; bare skin can sunburn. To protect  your pet, apply a zinc-free sunscreen to his ears and top of his nose. JN

This article is courtesy of the Arizona Humane Society. For more information, call the Arizona Humane Society at 602-997-7585 or visit azhumane.org.

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