Summertime Safety Tips
Summer is fun for people and pets, but because of the heat, you need to help make it safe, too.
Regular exercise, surprisingly, can be dangerous for pets at this time of year.
Even if your pets are active, get exercise every day and are in excellent physical shape, you may want to scale back their activities or change your exercise routine to the cooler hours of the morning or evening. That will allow them to acclimate to the sometimes sudden increases in daily temperatures that occur during those spring-into-summer days. Remember, we humans can take off our “winter coats” and put on t-shirts and shorts as the days suddenly grow hotter. However, at this time of year, our pets are often still wearing the remnants of their winter wardrobes. And while people have the capacity to perspire and cool themselves during exercise, our furred friends are limited in how they can cool themselves, relying on panting and limited sweating through the bottoms of their feet. While your pets are acclimating to the new season, develop an exercise plan that will get them safely through to those hotter summer months.
A pet in a closed vehicle is not cool.
Nearly everyone knows that leaving a pet in a closed vehicle on a 100-degree day is dangerous. However, it is the pleasant days of spring and early summer that can actually be the most dangerous for pets left in vehicles. Many people forget that pets are affected by heat much more quickly than humans are, and that leaving a pet in a car for “just a minute” can have a deadly outcome. Remember that cars heat up fast – even with the windows cracked!
At home outdoors, ensure that your pets have access to shade and fresh water at all times.
Temperatures in your yard can increase to high levels in just a few hours, and heat stroke can become a serious issue.
Heat stroke requires immediate veterinary attention!
Heat stroke can be deadly. Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, and coma. If you suspect heat stroke, you should seek veterinary treatment for your pet immediately. You can provide some immediate treatment using cool (but not icy) water to lower your pet’s temperature by submerging the pet in a tub of water, wetting him with a hose or sponging him down. If your pet showed signs of heat stroke but has been cooled and now appears fine, do not assume that all is well. Internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys and the brain, are all affected by extreme body temperature elevation. It is best to have a veterinarian examine your pet to assess potential health complications and ensure that other risks are not overlooked.
Enjoy your spring-into-summer days with your furred friends – just be sure to take a few precautions and stay cool!
General Safety Tips For Around the Home
Dog and cats (especially kittens) can be very curious. Here’s how to keep your companion animal safe in your home.
- Use childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets
- Place medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves
- Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet
- Check for and block any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinets or behind washer/dryer units
- Make sure your kitten hasn’t jumped into the dryer before you turn it on
- Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn’t harmful, the wrapper could be)
- Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals
- Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, televisions, stereos, and telephones out of reach
- Put away children’s toys and games
- Put away knick-knacks until your kitten has the coordination not to knock them over
- Check all those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn’t fit, but your puppy or kitten does, for dangerous items, like string
- Move common house plants that may be poisonous out of reach. Don’t forget hanging plants that can be jumped onto from nearby surfaces
- Make sure all heating/air vents have covers
- Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread
- Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors
- Clean all antifreeze from the floor and driveway, as one taste can be lethal to animals
- Bang on your car hood to ensure that your kitten (or any neighborhood cat) has not hidden in the engine for warmth
- Keep all sharp objects and tools out of reach
- Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and buttons can cause major problems if swallowed)
- Keep any medications, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces (like the bedside table)
- Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing
- Be careful that you don’t close your kitten in closets or dresser drawers
- And look out for paws, noses, and tails when you shut doors behind you or scoot chairs.
For additional safety tips, visit the American Humane Society website.
(Source: American Humane Society)