PSA for the day: Pets and Hot Weather

The AJC reported that Lawrenceville animal rights activist Patricia Siems was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after leaving her dog in her car for about 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. Ironic.

As a seasoned dog owner and longtime resident of geographic locations with temperatures that exceed comfort levels, I am constantly amazed at the complete lack of precaution pet owners take when it comes to hot weather. As much as we complain about the heat and humidity, imagine how that feels to something half our size and covered in fur.

Here are some rules regarding pets and the heat:

Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows open and in the shade, a car can quickly exceed temperatures over 150 degrees F.

Always carry cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.

Make walks and playtime in the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.

When the temperature is very high, donĂ­t let your dog stand on hot asphalt or concrete. Sensitive paw pads burn!

If you absolutely have to keep your animals outdoors, you must provide fresh water and plenty of shade (a properly constructed dog house). Try to bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.

Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs (bulldogs, pugs, etc.) should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.

Take Fido to the salon! Grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length helps prevent overheating (never shave down to the skin – it robs them from sun protection).

Remember, if it’s not comfortable for you, it’s not comfortable for them. More tips are available from the ASPCA web site.

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