Use caution, common sense to keep pets safe all summer

May 17, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. May 17, 2012

Regional Animal Services of King County reminds pet owners to keep animals safe as temperatures rise and spring changes to summer.

Animals cannot sweat like humans and can overheat quickly, especially as the temperature rises above 70 degrees.

Be sure to provide plenty of fresh, cool water to pets, and shade from the sun.

Though pets need exercise during warm weather, take extra care when exercising older dogs, short-nosed dogs and dogs with thick coats. On hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours.

Another danger is leaving pets in a vehicle, especially on warm days.

In sunny weather, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to 120 degrees or more, even with windows left slightly open. Animals left in a hot car, even for just a few minutes, can suffer from heat stroke, brain damage or death.

In addition, leaving a pet unattended in a hot car can be grounds for animal cruelty charges. In warm weather, leave pets at home instead of taking them along errands.

Contact authorities if you see unattended animals in a vehicle. Authorities may be able to help locate the vehicle’s owner to unlock the vehicle quickly. If security guards or other authorities cannot be reached, call 911 or 206-296-7387 immediately.

Pets’ paws can be burned when walking on hot pavement, and the skin on a dog’s nose can sunburn.

Be sure animals have access to shade and lots of fresh, cool water when playing outdoors. Do not over-exert pets during the warmest hours of the day, and avoid long walks or extended exercise outdoors.

If a dog or cat becomes overheated, apply cool water or cool, moist towels to its head, neck, and chest. Then immediately take the animal to a veterinarian.

As gardening season starts, remember plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be fatal if a pet ingests them. These chemicals can also cause irritation if they get in contact with paws or skin. If you suspect your pet has ingested or otherwise come into contact with lawn and garden chemicals, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Summer is also flea and tick season, so make sure you use a flea and tick treatment recommended by your veterinarian.

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