Summer Pet Care Tips

Summer Pet Care Tips
by Humane Society of Washington County

The Humane Society of Washington County offers the following summertime pet care tips to help keep your pet happy and healthy during the hot summer months.
"The number one pet care tip we can give is this-don't leave your dog or cat in your car. Not even for a minute," said Paul Miller, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Washington County. "While filled with the best of intentions, taking your pet with you on errands during the summer months can not only hurt them, it can, in fact, turn deadly," continued Miller.
"But if you do happen to see a pet in a car alone during the hot summer months, call us or the local police department. We have animal control officers on call 24 hours a day," said Miller.
The inside of a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even when parked in the shade. Dogs and cats can't perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Pets who are left in hot cars can suffer from heat stroke, brain damage...or they can die.
A few other dos and don'ts of summer pet care include:
* Don't drive with a dog in the back of your pick-up truck. They might get injured from flying debris or may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car.
* With more people and more dogs spending more time outside, dog bites are likely to increase in the summer months. Spaying or neutering your dog reduces the likelihood that he will bite while providing many other health benefits.
* Pets and pools can equal disaster. Always supervise a pet in a pool.
* Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and shade for your pet when they are outside.
* On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours and keep in mind that asphalt gets VERY hot and can burn your pet's paws.
* Fleas and ticks can be another summertime nuisance. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian, as some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.
* Don't take your pets to crowded summer events such as concerts or fairs. It sounds like fun but the loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be quite stressful and dangerous for pets.
* Be on the lookout for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Such symptoms can include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. If your pet does become overheated, immediately try to lower their body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest ONLY. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get him to a veterinarian immediately.
* Keep your animal well-groomed to stave off summer skin problems. Shaving a heavy-coated dog's hair to a one-inch length helps prevent overheating. Don't shave the hair down to the skin or it will rob him of protection from the sun. Cats should be brushed often.
* And finally, make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your pet, an ID tag may very well be his or her ticket home.

(ITALICS PLEASE)The Humane Society of Washington County is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for animals by sheltering those at risk and providing educational programs that strive to deepen the community's commitment to humane values. For more information call the Humane Society at 301-733-2060, ext. 237.