Summer Pet Care

by Jo-Ann Behan


As the temperatures begin to climb, circumstances facilitate sunburn and heatstroke in animals more easily than in humans.  Cats and dogs cannot perspire. They dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet.


The Humane Society of the United States recommends that all pets be kept indoors year round.  If an animal must be kept outdoors for certain brief periods of time, without supervision, be sure that he is provided a secure shaded area, shelter, water and food.


On hot days, limit your pet's exercise to early morning and evening.  Pets get sunburned and are vulnerable to skin cancer on their noses and ear tips.  Asphalt and pavement retain heat and can burn your pet's feet.  NEVER leave a pet inside a car, not even on a warm day.  On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 150 degrees within minutes.  Leaving a window slightly open will not prevent deadly heat buildup.  Death can occur within 15 minutes of heatstroke.  Heat buildup inside of a garage can be just as deadly!


According to the Humane Society, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and the ASPCA, tethering or chaining your pet is inhumane and a threat to other animals and to people.  Dogs instinctively thrive on interaction with other animals and with humans.  A chained-up dog suffers immense psychological and physical damage.  Restrictive movement, frustration, anxiety, exposure to the elements, lack of exercise and interaction, and damage to the neck and back from yanking and pulling is a pitiful situation.  The result is that a naturally friendly, docile animal may become anxious, neurotic and aggressive.  It is hard to imagine an animal forced to sleep, eat, defecate and urinate in a confined area with a chain around its neck. Some States and many communities have outlawed this cruel practice.


Also, outlawed in many States is the dangerous practice of driving with a dog in the back of a pick-up truck.  Not only is the animal exposed to heat and cold, but it is exposed to serious injury from flying debris and from being thrown out of the truck and into traffic.


You are your pet's ONLY defense against the "dog days" of summer.............and all days!


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