Summer pet care and safety tips |

Summer pet care and safety tips

Dawn Armstrong
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA

It’s time for fun in the sun with your pet. But remember the Golden Rule: If you’re uncomfortable, your pets are too.

Water warning – The annual snow melt is peaking. Secure your pets near streams, rivers and falls. The water is fast and cold. Hypothermia numbs limbs in minutes. Swift currents sweep pets away into obstacles or over falls.

Pet travel – Take along a current photo, vaccination certificates and updated ID tags. Put leash on before opening any door. Take fresh pet water. Take exercise breaks. A pet riding with head out the window or in the back of an open vehicle risks eye and lung damage, choking, and pad and body burns from hot metal.

Errands and parked cars – With windows open and car in the shade, 85 degrees outside becomes 102 degrees inside within 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, the temperature climbs to 129 degrees from solar gain and engine heat. Brain damage (107 degrees) and death (120 degrees) can result. If you see a stressed animal in a hot car, call animal control, police or sheriff immediately. Leave pets home on errand day. Even dogs left outside stores risk theft, abuse and fear biting.

Beaching and boating – Keep pets hydrated with fresh, clean drinking water. Cool down with a wet towel. Provide shade. Use a pet life jacket.

Hiking and outfitting – Protect paw pads from Tahoe granite. Fit paw boots of canvas or leather (baby powder with cornstarch helps absorb sweat inside boot). Before purchasing a pack, fit it to the dog. Bring fresh water for pets to avoid giardia. Your pet needs to be physically fit for hiking.

Walking – Hot asphalt burns paws. It also radiates up, burning the belly of low-to-the-ground pets. Avoid heat absorbing surfaces.

House and yard – A few drops of antifreeze-coolant is a deadly poison that kills domestic pets and wildlife. Check driveway and wipe up spills. Provide shade in the yard and fill empty water bowls.

Ticks and fox tails – If pet is pawing at eyes or ears, squinting, rubbing his or her head on the ground, sneezing violently, or has inflamed spots on the skin, see a veterinarian immediately. Barbed plants embed in skin, paws ears, nostrils and eyes and migrate. Ticks carry disease.

Sun protection – A clean, combed coat helps keep pets cool. Trim to no less than one inch to protect skin. Ask vet about safe sun shields for nose and ears.

Senior and overweight pets: Exercise in the cool of the day. Provide shady hideouts with plenty of water in tip proof containers.

Pet first aid – The signs of overheating include heavy panting, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, dizziness. Move overheated pet into shade and apply cool (not cold) water over body to gradually lower temperature. Apply cold towels to head, neck and chest. Let pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take your pet to the veterinarian.

For questions about information presented here, call (530) 542-2857. Provided by Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help “Keep Tahoe Kind!”

Dawn Armstrong is the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA.

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