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- Animal Care & Safety
Summer Dangers to Pets
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, summer has many preventable dangers to pets. Any size, type, and breed of pet can be a victim to these accidents. As their caretakers and "parents", we need to be on the lookout for anything in the area that could hurt our dogs and cats, and take action before our pet realizes the danger.
1. Heat stroke
The most preventable cause of death for pets in the summer is heatstroke. Pets left inside cars, even with the window down a little, are basically in an oven. This is true even when the car is in the shade, as the interior fabric and car metal heats up and the glass prevents the hot air from escaping.
Take action: Leave your pet at home. If they have to come with you, bring them with you into the store or wherever you are going. If two people are going along, one of them can stay with the pet outside in the shade (but not in the car) while the other one shops or does business.
2. Pool danger
There are two dangers with pools: drinking the water and drowning. Many pools are cleaned with harsh chemicals and the water is usually treated with dechlorination products. Dogs and cats who drink pool water do not realize that it is poison. They just are wanting a drink. Pets can also easily drown in pools, whether covered or not. Many pool covers are not attached all the way around the edge, leaving a gap that a cat or a small dog can wiggle through. If the pool cover floats on top, a larger dog or a heavy cat sees it as a solid surface and may try to walk over it. If it is unstable at all, the pet can cause the end to tip and drown.
Take action: Clean your pool with eco-friendly cleaners (no bleach) and dispose of the old pool water in a place pets do not go. This is true for cleaning small "kiddie pools" as well. Keep pets away from pools. If the pool height is smaller than the height from the ground to the pet's belly, it is safe to let the pet play in untreated water. If the pool height is greater, buy a life vest for your pooch or kitty. If you have a pool with a cover, make sure it is tacked down all the way around.
Pets and fireworks should never mix. If your dog is around fireworks, keep it on a very short leash. Some fireworks look like sticks, so dogs think they are toys. At night, the sudden flash and loud noises disorient animals and can cause them to run towards the danger instead of away from it.
Take action: Keep pets indoors while fireworks are lit. If dogs are out, keep them at your side on a short leash.
4. Getting lost
Pets who travel with their people can get lost easily, because they are in totally unfamiliar surroundings. Even if your family goes to the same house or camping spot every year, your pet may not remember exactly in which site you are parked.
Take action: Always have a collar with tags on your pet. The tag(s) should have at least two numbers on it: your home number and a number where you can be reached when on vacation. If you are camping, cell phones may not work. The best i.d. system is one that has an alternate number (friend in the area, temporary hotel number, etc.) where you can definitely be contacted in case you and your pet get separated. Never let cats out of the rv or car while traveling, unless they are on harness and leash. Never leave pets tied up while you are out of sight. Carry a current photo of your pet with you at all times, for identification purposes.
5. Barbecues and campfires
Campfires are an obvious danger, yet every year pets get burned by them. Dogs may try to take burning sticks out of the fire, which are hard to get from them because they think you are playing when you chase them. Used barbecues can become dangers if there is food still stuck to them, because dogs and cats will try to lick the remnants off and get burned tongues and mouths. Lighter fluid is a poison.
Take action: Keep pets away from food preparation areas and campfires. If dogs are around campfires, keep them on a very short leash and sitting or laying right beside you. Clean grills well, and keep the cap on lighter fluid. Dispose of charcoal and other fuel appropriately.