Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Safety Tips for Our Precious Pets

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Our rental car had been parked in the lot for about 6 hours. I think the temperature was approaching 40 degrees that day. When we returned and opened our doors, the sensation was exactly like opening an oven. Heat poured out at us and almost physically drove us backwards.

The parking receipt had turned a deep, toasted brown on the dash.

Your car on a hot day, even in the shade can heat up far worse than a sauna. I kind of think of it as a metal room with a whole bunch of glass ready to amplify the sun's effects.

And yet, there are still people who leave pets (or even young children) locked inside cars while they go about their business.

If you are in the Toronto area, you may remember last month the dog rescued from a locked car in a supermarket parking lot who then ran on to a highway. Toronto police reported they had responded to 152 calls about animals locked in cars that week. Temperatures were in the mid-30s.

The Ottawa Humane Society last week issued a warning, reminding pet owners of the dangers of leaving pets unattended in parked cars during even mild weather. The OHS has responded to 117 heat-related calls so far this year. Three owners have been charged for leaving animals in vehicles.

What is up with this?? Please remember that it's not safe to leave your pet unattended in a vehicle (or chained up outside without water!). And if you see an animal in a locked car, please alert the police or store management, or someone who can help. You could save a four-legged life.

There are many other steps we can take to keep our pets healthy and happy during the hot months of summer. If we aren't comfortable in the heat and humidity, just think how our friends in their fur coats feel. Iams has a deep interest in the health and welfare of our animals, and they provide the following safety tips:
  • Do not leave a pet alone in a car in warm weather - While you may love bringing your pet to the grocery store or shopping mall, please remember to never leave a pet alone in a vehicle in this summer heat. A car acts like an oven; temperatures can reach over 49 °C and will cause your pet to suffer from heat exhaustion or even stroke. Simply cracking a window will not cut it! 
  • Sun in small doses - Hot weather can cause lots of problems for dogs and cats, especially the ones with the thick furry coats as they retain the heat. Remember to treat your pet as you like to be treated, if you can’t stand to be in the sun for long, neither can your pet. 
  • Prevent overheating and keep cool - Air conditioning is the best way to help your pets stay cool in this warm weather. If you don’t have air conditioning, try placing fans in places where your dog likes to sleep. A fan will help to circulate the air inside your home and prevent your pet from over heating 
  • Be a pro with the H20! - Be sure to keep your pet hydrated! Simply keep their dish filled with fresh cool water. Try using ice cubes during the hottest part of the day, this will keep the water extra cool and they may even like the crunch. 
  • Splish, splash cool off with a bath - While you are enjoying a day by the pool or relaxing in the garden soaking up the rays, fill up a kiddie pool with water for your dog to get in and splash around, wet your pup down with a garden hose or place a cool wet towel on your dog for evaporative cooling 
  • All paws on deck - Did you know that pet’s paws react the same way to scorching hot pavement as our bare feet? When taking your dog for a long walk on a hot day, remember that if the pavement is too hot for you, it is probably too hot for your dog’s paws. Try walking in the park or ravine where the ground is grassy and bring along water to make frequent stops. It’s important to not take long walks or over-exert in the summer! 
  • Exercise with caution - Senior and overweight pets are more at risk to suffer from the heat, so be sure to take additional precautions when taking older and overweight dogs for walks. While exercise is still important in the heat, be patient and walk slower! 
And remember that our pretty kitties need extra care
in the heat as well.
Always keep cool, fresh water available, indoors and out.
You can find lots more Pet Health information at Iams.ca

Stay safe, stay aware!

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