BY MARK FORREST PATRICK | PHOTO BY TAMMY SWALES
Everyone enjoys spending time with their canine companions outside during the summer months. It may seem like a great idea to take your dog for a walk at the local street fair, however, your time at the festival can be deadly for your pet. Asphalt is much warmer to dogs than it is to us. The warm asphalt can also cause burns to their paw pads. During the summer months it is important to always have water available for your pets. Your companion may become dehydrated very quickly and suffer from heat stroke and the possibility of death. Keep your pets in the shade as much as possible and avoid dog parks and exercise during peak hours of the day.
Here are a few warning signs that your dog may be in danger: panting and difficulty breathing, increased heart rate and respiration, excessive drooling, weakness, stumbling or even collapse. In severe cases, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
NEVER leave your pet in a parked car. A vehicle can become a dangerous place for your pet in just a few seconds. Even with the windows rolled down the interior temperature can become in excess of 100 degrees. Many states have laws against leaving a pet in an unattended vehicle.
For pool owners, introduce your pet gradually to the water, not all of our pets are swimmers. When on a boat always use a pet flotation device. Once your pet has left the pool or lake, rinse them off to remove the chlorine and any residue. For our pets, the chlorine and lake bacteria may cause an upset stomach.
With the increased heat this summer, many of us are leaving our windows open. Be sure to check your screens to ensure they are fitting properly. If a window is missing a screen, close the window for the safety of your pet. During the heat, our pets look for an escape and may jump or fall out of the window.
If you trim your pet down for the summer months, be sure to leave enough fur to cover the skin to eliminate sun burn. Be sure to read the label and use an insect repellent or sun screen that is approved for pet use.
Taking our pets for a walk in the neighborhood is great exercise, but it can be deadly. Keep your pets off lawns or areas that have been treated with a pesticide. The pesticide can be harmful if indigested. If your pet gets the pesticide on their paws and then lick their paws they may be ingesting the harmful product. If you use a rodent control or poisons place them out of reach of your pets. Many of the products today are peanut butter scented and are an attraction to your pet. If you suspect your pet has digested a product call the ASPCA Poison Control or your local veterinarian immediately.
Alcohol can be a deadly poison to your pet and can ruin a good backyard cookout. Alcohol can cause serious medical conditions including intoxication, depression and a coma. Your pet’s diet is very important and any change in their diet can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Refrain from allowing your pet to consume items other than their normal diet. Items that are harmful to your pet are onions, raisins, grapes, chocolate, and the sweetener xylitol.
Have an enjoyable summer and remember, keep your pet safe and cool during your summer time fun!
Mark Forrest Patrick is owner/trainer at Tuxedo’s K9 Training Camp, Inc. www.tuxedosk9.com. ASPCA: hot weather tips, www.aspca.com. The Humane Society; Keep Pets Safe in the Heat, www.humanesociety.org