Summer pet safety tips

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal)  Summer is here and that brings with it a lot of concerns for our pets.  Lee Chambers from Dakin Humane Society shared some tips.

Dakin Humane Society
171 Union St., Springfield
(413) 781 – 4000
163 Montague Rd., Leverett
(413) 548 – 9898

Dogs & Heat:

  • If the temperature + the humility equals 120 – use caution when going outside, or if the National Index is 175 use caution
  • Dogs should not be outside more than 20 minutes at a time (even with shade and water)
  • Dogs should have unlimited access to water
  • Beware of hot asphalt and hot cars

Whats a normal temperature for a dog? 

  • Normal temperature 100.4 – 102.5
  • Best to use a rectal thermometer

What about grooming your dog in the summer? How short should you keep their hair?

  • Double coated breeds (Like an Australian Shepard ) keep their hair longer because it keeps them cooler
  • Light skinned dogs, don’t cut hair too short they can get sunburned

How can you tell if a dog is dehydrated?

  • Sticky gums (gums should be slippery)
  • Neck scruff stays up when you pull it up
  • Pugs have a harder time breathing in hot weather, harder time cooling off in hot weather

Warning signs of heat stress and stroke:

  • Signs of Heat Stress/Stroke
  • Gums are bright red
  • Panting heavily
  • Become lethargic
  • Salivating a lot around the face

Cooling off Your Dog:

  • Put them in a cool bath (do not use cold water)
  • Get them into shade, bring them inside or into an air conditioned car
  • Drink lots of fresh cool water (not cold it can send them into shock)

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

  • Never leave your pets in a parked car.  It should go without saying, but it happens all the time.  People think they’ll be in the store for “just be a minute,” and that’s all it can take for internal car temperatures to skyrocket.  On an 85 degree day, for example, it can reach 120 degrees inside a car within 10 minutes.  High temps mean you pet can suffer organ damage or die.
  • Humidity can be dangerous.  Pets are affected by humidity as well as ambient temperature.  Dogs and cats pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which removes heat from their bodies.   If the humidity is too high, they can’t cool themselves, which is dangerous.  If unsure, take your dog’s temperature, and be sure it doesn’t exceed 104 degrees.
  • Watch the walking and other exercise.  Use caution when exercising and playing with your pet.  When it’s hot, walk the dog or play with the cat in the early morning or evening hours.  Don’t forget that asphalt gets very hot on your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if you can.  Bring water for both you and your canine friend on any outing, and be mindful that dogs with white-colored ears are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets may have difficulty breathing in the warm weather.
  • Give your pets shade and water.  During a heat wave, put some ice cubes in their water bowl.  Tree shades and tarps provide good protection because they don’t block air flow.
  • Keep an eye out for heatstroke symptoms.  They include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing, lethargy, excessive thirst, dizziness or clumsiness, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
  • In case of heatstroke:  Move your pet to a shaded or air conditioned area.  Apply ice packs or cold towels to his head, neck and chest and run cool (not cold) water on him.  Allow him to drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes and get him directly to a veterinarian or animal hospital.
  • Keep your dog at home on the 4th of July.  If you’re heading out to a fireworks display or outdoor gathering on the 4th (where there will be firecrackers and other loud noisemakers), don’t bring your dog.  Those sonic booms are painful because of their sensitive hearing, and they often startle and bolt.  Many animal shelters in America report July 5 as their busiest day of the year because of all the dogs who have run away in fear from fireworks or firecrackers and become lost.  Keep your dog home, in a quiet room with the TV on, lights on and shades drawn to spare them as much noise and flash as possible.
  • Lifejackets for dogs are a must.  If you’re boating, be sure your dog has a lifejacket as well as other family members.  Before you venture out, let him wear it a few times around the house to get used to it.
  • Practice pool safety with your dog.  Never leave your dog unsupervised by an uncovered pool, and teach him how to get out of the pool by joining you in using the stairs 5 or 10 times in a row.  He’ll remember how to exit if he accidentally falls in.
  • Tell guests not to feed your dog.  They mean well, but a guest who slips your dog barbecued scraps and fatty leftovers could cause your pet to suffer pancreatitis, giving them intense abdominal pain or death.  Other no-no’s are corn on the cob, bones and pits from fruit.
  • Hide the plant food.  Many plant foods contain insecticides with potentially fatal compounds.  If your dog ingests it from the bag (or soil that’s treated with it), he could suffer profuse vomiting, diarrhea, shock, seizures or even death.

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