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Keeping Your Pet Safe In The Warm Weather Months

The hot summer months can pose a real threat to pets. Cats and dogs are just not able to tolerate extreme temperatures well and some breeds are even more likely to have trouble in the heat of summer. As a responsible pet owner, it's important to make sure that your pet is safe during these warm weather months. As humans we have sweat glands all over our body which, when we perspire helps keep our body temperature from rising to an unhealthy temperature. Dogs and cats, on the other hand can only release excess body heat through the pad of their paw and by panting. This makes it very difficult for animals to deal with those sweltering summer temperatures. Here are some tips to help you and your pet.
Taking Your Dog For a Drive: NEVER leave an animal in a car. Dogs love riding in the car and if yours is like mine if I even say the word "car" she will sit next to it for over 30 minutes determined that if I'm going somewhere, she's going with. It very tempting to tell yourself that it will be for only a few minutes.  Even with the windows open, a car parked in the hot sun can reach deadly temperatures in the matter of minutes. Pets left in hot cars can die within minutes or can suffer from severe dehydration.  If you must travel with your dog or cat, be sure to leave the air conditioning on at all times. Stop and let your pets take frequent breaks on long trips and make sure they are provided with fresh, cool water.
Walking Your Dog:  The best time, for you and your dog, to take a walk is in the morning or evening when the sun is less intense. Temperatures during the summer will be at the highest during midday. You should avoid walking your dog during this time. Both you and your dog are likely to become hot and dehydrated. Another risk is that the hot concrete can burn your dog’s sensitive paws. Make sure you have plenty of water for both you and your dog. Stop frequently to allow your dog to drink. If possible choose a walker route that has some shade along the way.

Grooming Can Make a Difference: While it's always a good idea to keep your pet properly groomed, it is especially important during the summer months. Imaging wearing a fur coat in the middle of summer and you may have some idea of how your pet feels. Grooming out the thick undercoat of long haired breeds may help keep your pup cool. Also, watch carefully pets that have much of their fur trimmed off, such as poodles. Long haired dogs can quickly overheat in the high temperatures but Poodles and other breeds with short cuts can get sunburned. Since you can't use sunscreen on your dog they have little protection from the suns harmful rays and they may burn. If you have a long haired, thick coated breed you can trim the hair but do not cut it short enough to expose the skin. Even long haired cats can benefit from a summer clipping. Even indoors a long haired cat can become easily overheated.
Check for Insects: With warm temperatures also come insect pests that can other your pet. During spring and summer  fleas and ticks are the the most bothersome. Mosquitoes are also out during this time of year. Protect your dog or cat my making sure you keep up with their monthly flea and tick preventatives. It's also very important that your dog  stay current on heart worm preventative, as mosquito bites can cause heart worms. Watch for bee and wasp stings as they cause swelling or other allergic reactions in your pet.

Stay Safe Outdoors:  Whether you are working in the yard or visiting the lake or swimming in the pool, you need to take extra caution when your pets are with you outside. Chemicals used in gardens and on the lawn can be harmful to pets. When your pet is outdoors be sure to keep them away from these areas. A garden fence will keep your dog out and chicken wire will detour your cat from wandering into the garden. My dog enjoys spending time outside in her wading pool. This keeps her cool. If your pet is outside playing you will have to keep an eye on it for heat exhaustion.  Many dogs really don't know when to call it quits with fetching or frisbee catching.
As pet owners it's our responsibility to make sure our pets are safe in hot weather. Their inability to adequately cool down can make heat exposure deadly. It is especially important to keep an eye on your older pet since they are even more susceptible to  heat exhaustion.


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