- If you are tempted to leave your dog in the car this summer, remember that during warm weather the inside of your car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes, even if you're parked in the shade. Dogs don't perspire. They dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Dogs left in hot cars even briefly can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can even die. Don't think that just because you'll be gone "just a minute" that your dog will be safe. If you happen to see a dog (or cat) in a car alone during the hot summer months, alert the management of the store near where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police department immediately.
- Summer is time for yard work. Remember that plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your dog ingests them. In addition, many plants are toxic to animals.
- Make sure your dog is always wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your dog, an ID tag may very well be his or her ticket home. Having your dog microchipped by your vet is another good idea. Remember that if you move you should notify the company that registered the microchip of your new contact information.
- Check with your veterinarian to see if your dogs (and cats) should be taking heartworm preventative. Heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be fatal in both dogs and cats.
- Another summertime threat is fleas and ticks. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.
- Pets and pools can be disastrous. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise a dog in a pool.
- Provide plenty of water and shade for your dogs while they're enjoying the great outdoors so they can stay cool.
- Dogs can get sunburned and yours may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.
- In summer heat your dog can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These conditions are very serious and can result in death. The signs of heat stress can include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, and a deep red or purple tongue. If your dog becomes overheated, immediately lower his body temperature. Move him into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most important, get him to a veterinarian immediately.
And, finally, take the Red Cross pet first aid class.