Summer safety tips for pets | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Summer safety tips for pets

Dawn Armstrong
Special to the Tribune

Woof Woof! It’s the good old summertime at last. Pets and people are out and about having fun together. Here are reminders to keep it safe and smart.

Pet travel: Take along a current photo, vaccination certificates and updated ID tags. Put on the leash before opening any hotel or vehicle door. Take fresh water for pets. Take rest stop exercise breaks. Avoid allowing your pet’s head to hang out the window. The risks are eye and lung damage, and choking on flying objects. Riding in the back of an open truck risks burns from hot metal beds, overheating, escape or fear and biting a passing pedestrian. 

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, residual engine heat, and pet panting. Brain damage (107 degrees) and death (120 degrees) can result. If you see a stressed animal in a hot car, it’s an immediate 911 call to animal control, police or sheriff.

Beaching and boating: Sun reflection is intense off sand and water. Keep pets hydrated with fresh, clean drinking water. Cool them down with a wet towel. Provide shade.

Hiking, walking and trail outfitting: Protect paw pads before you hike on Tahoe’s granite. When fitting dog boots, choose canvas or leather. Most dogs adapt within 15 minutes. Baby powder with cornstarch helps absorb boot sweat. Before purchasing, carefully fit any pack to your dog. Pets get sick from polluted streams. Bring fresh water just for them. In town, hot asphalt burns paws. It also radiates heat up, burning the belly of a low-to-the-ground pet. 

Around the house: Antifreeze coolant is a sweet liquid poison that unnecessarily kills domestic pets and wildlife each summer. Check driveway for leaks and wipe up spills. Prevent outside pets from over heating. Provide shade and monitor water bowls all day. 

Foxtails and ticks: Barbed seeds embed in skin, paws, ears, nostrils and eyes. Ticks wait in long grass to burrow in skin. If your 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.

Grooming: A clean, combed coat helps keep pets cool by preventing fur from trapping heat. Trim no closer than one inch to cool while protecting skin. Ask your vet about safe sun protection coatings for light colored noses and ears. Dogs and cats burn and get skim cancer just like humans.

Older and overweight pets: Temperature extremes are hard on elderly or overweight pets. Exercise in the cool of the morning or evening. Provide safe, shady hideouts during the day with plenty of water in tip proof containers. Pets needs to be physically fit before hiking.

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

Remember the Golden Rule: If you are uncomfortable, your pets are, too.

– Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.” Dawn Armstrong is the executive director.


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