Houston SPCA offers summer pet safety tips
With summer officially here and temperatures rising all over Texas, the Houston SPCA offers tips to help pets survive the summer heat.
Hot cars/heatstroke: During the hot months, leave pets at home instead of unattended in a car. Even with the car windows cracked and/or parked in the shade, the inside temperature can reach 120 degrees.
If the air becomes too warm, a dog’s body temperature can reach 106 degrees, causing heatstroke, seizures, brain damage and possible death.
Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, excessive drooling, staggering, lethargy, shock, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting.
Exercise: On very hot days, limit a pet’s jog or walk to the early morning or evening hours to avoid heatstroke. Hot asphalt can burn an animal’s paws.
Heartworm preventative: Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease in both dogs and cats. Heartworms are potentially fatal parasites that can be spread through just one mosquito bite. Dogs and cats should be on heartworm medication year-round.
Shelter: Leave a pet inside an air-conditioned home. If it must stay outside, make sure it has adequate shelter with access to plenty of cool, fresh water and shade.
Vaccinations: Any pet should be up-to-date on all vaccinations. If a pet is going to be boarded, speak with a veterinarian about any additional vaccines recommended for a kennel environment.
Fleas/ticks: Fleas are a common problem, but accidental poisonings and deaths happen each year because people use the wrong product. Ask a vet for the proper medication.
Water/beach safety: Not all dogs are good swimmers. Always supervise a dog near the pool. At the beach, a strong undertow or riptide can drag a pet out into the water.
Rinse sand, salt, chlorine or other water residue off your pet as soon as possible. Dogs with short hair, white fur and pink skin can sunburn easily, so limit sun exposure and ask a vet about pet-friendly sunblock.
Herbicides/pesticides: Plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be harmful and even fatal to a pet if ingested. Keep pets away from toxic plants and flowers.
Travel: Check with each airline for its rules on flying pets during the summer. Many will only fly animals early in the morning or in the evening.
When traveling by car, put icepacks in the animal’s well-ventilated crate to keep it cool. Bring fresh water and pack a tarp to create a shady area during rest stops.
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