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Dog Days of Summer

Keep Pets Safe During Sunny Months


With summer in full swing, you may find yourself spending more time outdoors and planning family vacations. Many of these activities can be enjoyed with your pets in tow, but there are precautions that should be taken. Here are some tips on how you can safely participate in summer activities with your pet by your side.

Hot Weather

Never leave a pet in a car on a hot day. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. According to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals, animals should never be left in a parked car, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Cars heat up quickly and can cause an animal to become dehydrated and overheat. If you are going somewhere where pets are not allowed, leave your pet at home.

Be safe at the beach. Not only can dogs get overheated in hot cars, but also on steamy summer days. Make sure your pet stays cool outside by always providing shade and cool water. The ASPCA says you should be especially careful with dogs that have short, pushed-in faces (e.g., bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers), puppies, and elderly pets. Experts warn that you should be cautious of pets with light-colored noses, ears, or fur as they are especially vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing a sunscreen.

Adjust your pet’s exercise routine. On very hot days, exercise should be limited to early morning or evening hours. Also, be aware that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.

Watch for heat stroke. According to the American Red Cross, an overheated dog can suffer brain and organ damage after only 15 minutes. Some signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, bright-red tongue and gums, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and body temperature of 105-110 degrees. If your pet gets overheated, you can give immediate first aid by getting him out of the heat, laying him on cool shaded grass, and pouring cool water over him. You can also give small amounts of water or ice cubes. Call your veterinarian immediately.

Water Safety

Never leave pets unsupervised around a pool Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers. Make sure to introduce your pet to the water gradually. Keep in mind that supervision is required even for dogs who know how to swim, as they may jump in a pool and not know how to get out. This is especially true if you have a covered pool.

Practice safety on boats. Experts recommend that all pets wear flotation devices on boats. Additionally, dogs should be rinsed off after swimming in the ocean.

Backyard Safety

Be cautious of chemicals in your backyard. People tend to fertilize their lawn during the summer months and certain fertilizers can be fatal if ingested by your pet. In addition, plant food and insecticides can be dangerous if your pet consumes them. Citronella candles may keep away pests, but they contain a chemical that could be harmful if swallowed.

Don’t allow your pet to eat party food. Just because you’re enjoying a backyard barbecue or party, doesn’t mean your pet should suffer. Human food and drink aren’t always fit for pets to consume. Alcoholic beverages can cause depression, comas, or even death. Certain foods such as avocados, chocolate, garlic, and onions can also be poisonous.

Make sure your windows are secured. The ASPCA states that there is an increase in injured animals as a result of “high-rise syndrome,” which occurs when pets fall out of windows and are seriously injured. Since people tend to open windows more in warm weather, make sure to check all your window screens to ensure they are properly secured.

Riding in Cars

Secure your pet while traveling by car. Pets should always be placed in a carrier while traveling in a vehicle. If this isn’t possible, harnesses can be purchased to ensure your pet stays safe while you drive.

Don’t allow your dog to ride in the bed of a pickup truck. If you travel with your dog in the open bed of a pickup truck, not only are you putting your dog at risk, but also you’re endangering the lives of other motorists. The State of California prohibits unsecured animals from traveling in an open truck. If you must travel with your dog in your pickup truck, you can secure him in a crate in the truck bed or secure him to a crosstie in the open truck bed so that the dog can’t reach the sides of the truck. It is my belief that if a dog doesn’t fit inside your car, they should stay at home.

Traveling with Your Pet

If you decide to bring your pet with you on your travels, you will need all necessary supplies-food, treats, toys, bed, cold water, and bowls for the road. Make sure to check out hotels ahead of time to see if they allow pets. Here’s a great Web site to look for listings www.petswelcome.com

Don’t schedule air flights during peak hours. Peak periods typically mean delays and stopovers, which means your pet will be in a crate for a longer period of time. You should also try to choose early morning or evening flights when the sun isn’t as hot.

If you follow these tips, you can enjoy the summer months with family and friends while keeping your pet happy and safe!

Adoptable Pet of the Week

Benny is a wonderfully sweet calm neutered male Miniature Pinscher and German Pinscher mix, about 20 lbs., and is nine years old (although behaves like a five year old). He loves people and gets along with other dogs. He will chase a tennis ball but usually just wants a person that he can be close to and provide the companionship he is missing. He walks well on a leash but needs some training for commands. Benny had lived in a home with an elderly gentleman who passed away leaving Benny and his sister Joon behind. Joon has found her forever home and now Benny is left behind waiting for his forever home. Benny would love to be in a home with one or two adults. He would also be fine with respectful dog knowledgeable children. He loves being talked to and petted and rides really well in a car. He has attended many community outreach events. He is housetrained, current on all his vaccinations, and is ready to have a soft bed in someone’s home to call his own. For information about adoption for Benny call County Animal Services at 681-5285.

To view Benny’s profile and more photos, and more dogs for adoption from K-9 PALS and courtesy posts for dogs from the County Shelters and other rescue groups, visit the K-9 PALS website at K-9PALS.org. Or call 570-0415 for more information. K-9 PALS (K-9 Placement and Assistance League, Inc.) is the all-volunteer nonprofit 501C3 no-kill organization working on behalf of homeless and abandoned dogs in shelters in Santa Barbara and Ventura county shelters, and other abandoned dogs in need. K-9 PALS provides veterinary care, training, promotions, rescue, transports, adoptions, and advocacy for homeless and abandoned dogs from Santa Barbara and Ventura county shelters and other abandoned dog in need.

K-9 PALS provides free dog behavior training sessions for people who have adopted a dog from any shelter, rescue group, or humane society. When you adopt a dog from any shelter or rescue, contact K-9 PALS at info@k-9pals.org or 570-0415 to take advantage of this great offer. For more information about K-9 PALS go to K-9PALS.org. or K-9 PALS on facebook.

All donations to K-9 PALS go directly to benefit homeless dogs in order to save lives, and reduce the number of abandoned and homeless dogs in our county shelters. Donations are gratefully accepted by K-9 PALS, P.O. Box 60755 Santa Barbara, CA 93160-0755.

Photo courtesy of Wanda Grode

Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions, www.animaladoptionsolutions.com

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