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It’s Not Too Soon To Think About Summer’s Pet Threats

Nearly everyone is glad to see spring and summer on the way, but don't forget there are a few pet threats lurking in the warmer wather.
After what’s been a long and dreary winter for many parts of the nation, most of us are looking forward to spring and summer. For pet owners, especially, getting outdoors with our four-legged friends is enjoyable.

There are some things to watch for, however. Parts of the country traditionally go from cold to hot pretty quickly and the transition can take our pets and us by surprise. Heat stroke is common for both humans and pets. In fact, pets are in more danger because they cannot cool themselves by perspiring.

One danger cannot be stressed too much: never leave your pet alone in a vehicle, not even for a quick dash into a store. That short jaunt may become unavoidably lengthened and even in relatively cool spring weather a locked car can reach deadly temperatures in minutes. In such conditions, your pet will overheat, risking injury or death.

Cats, Too!

Heat dangers are most often associated with dogs, but owners of outdoor cats should be aware, too. Make sure your feline has access to fresh, clean water and shade. Cats may be less adverse to the heat than dogs, but both can be in danger if they can’t escape high temperatures.

Owners need to look for what can happen as well as how things are at the moment. A backyard may seem inviting in the early morning shade, but become a hot box in the afternoon, especially without water. Your frisky pet may not know when to quit playing until heat stroke makes him quit. It’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for these dangers.

Remember, the sun till be hottest during the middle of the day, usually from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., while the air temperature will usually spike sometime between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Keep that in mind.

Warning Signs

Warning signs of heat stroke may include rapid breathing, a dry mouth and nose, rapid heart rate, even vomiting, glazed eyes and inability to easily walk or remain upright. Our pet and canine first aid kits include rectal thermometers and you can take your dog’s temperature, which should normally be between 101 and 102 degrees. If it’s 104 degrees or more, take him to the vet’s office or local emergency pet center quickly.

If you’re not near professional help and your pet seems very stressed from the heat, it’s not a bad idea to cool him or her with ice or cool water.

Many public beaches prohibit pets and they may be doing you a favor. Beaches have little shade or fresh drinking water. If you’re near the ocean and your dog loves to get in, be sure to rinse him or her to remove the salt, which can cause irritation. And don’t let your pet drink ocean water, which is not better for the pet than it is for you.

We’ve warned before about walking pets on hot pavement or asphalt, which like an enclosed car, can become surprisingly hot from the sun’s rays. Dogs, especially, can actually receive burns to the delicate pads on their feed. If you’re in doubt, take a moment to touch the pavement to see how warm it actually is.

These are only a few issues, but most usually require only a little observation and thought to avoid. Both you and your pet will be glad you did.