Sometimes what seems like fun for you and your dog can be hazardous to his health, and hot weather and outdoor activities can pose situational and environmental risks for him, ranging from poisoning and heatstroke.
- Failure to provide adequate water is one of the most common mistakes that caregivers make. It is essential that your pets have fresh drinking water at ALL times throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to organ failure and even death.
- Every summer, hundreds of reports document situations where an animal is at risk in a parked car. On a mild 73 degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in minutes, and on a 90 degree day, the interior of a vehicle can reach 160 degrees. The majority of the cases reported involve a person who was “just running into the store for a minute,” and the dog is quickly in a life-threatening situation. If you have errands to run, LEAVE THE DOG AT HOME. If you see a dog in distress in a car, take down the car’s color, make, model, and license-plate number, have the owner paged inside the nearby stores, and call the authorities. If necessary, call again, and wait until the police arrive.
- Don’t transport your dog in the bed of a pickup. This is always dangerous, but the heat brings added danger of burning the dog’s feet on the hot metal. (Hot pavement can also burn dogs’ paws, so be sure to walk your dog in the cooler time of day. Rest often, take plenty of water, and choose shady routes.)
- Trim your dog’s fur, but leave an inch for protection against sunburn and insects. Dog friendly sunscreen should be used in areas where the hair is thin.
- Be sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Snub-nosed dogs and those with heart or lung diseases should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible in hot weather.
- Don’t allow your dogs in areas that have been recently sprayed with insecticides, pesticides or other chemicals. They can poison your pet.
- If your dog swims, rinse her off with fresh water to get rid of sand and salt that can dry her skin or irritate her eyes. Don’t allow her to drink water from pools and ponds.
- Insect sting and bites can spell trouble for pets. A sting around the mouth or throat can cause swelling enough to restrict the animal’s breathing, and some animals have allergic reactions to stings which can require immediate vet care.
Be a watchdog for chained animals. If they do not have food, water, and shelter, try to talk to the animal’s caregivers. Without being judgmental, explain the dangers involved. If an animal is suffering, contact authorities immediately. You may be the dog’s only chance for survival. Get involved….it’s the right thing to do.
By following basic precautions, both you and your furbaby will enjoy the long, wonderful days of summer.