The Montclair Animal Shelter offers this advice to help keep your pets safe and comfortable in summer’s warm weather:
Now that warm weather is here, we can all enjoy spending time together indoors and out. Keep in mind there are a few things you should know to make your home safe for your pets. A few basic principles can guide good judgment.
Your pets’ resting temperature is higher than yours (100-102.5F) and pets do not have the ability to cool themselves by sweating over most of their bodies, making it harder to tolerate the hotter temperatures.
Animals with flatter faces, like Boxers, Pugs and Persians, and overweight animals, are not as able to get rid of heat by panting. They are also innately curious, so may be more eager to involve themselves in a dangerous situation (e.g., play ball when it is too hot, jump out an open window).
1) Never leave your pet in a parked car. With the air conditioning off, the temperature in a parked car can rise within minutes to levels that could be fatal for your pet. If it is essential to take your pet with you, turn on the AC several minutes before getting in.
2) Hotter temperatures mean windows open — make sure your screens are firmly in place before opening your windows. Cats love the fresh air, but may fall through open screens, leaving them in an unprotected and potentially dangerous situation.
3) Trimming long hair on pets may be beneficial, but make sure to never leave the skin exposed. Doing so takes away a cooling mechanism and exposes the skin to the dangerous effects of the sun.
4) Take your pets to the veterinarian regularly. Many diseases leave your pet especially vulnerable to the effects of heat and humidity. Being aware of them could be a life saver. Make sure that your pet is tested and protected against heartworm disease, which is on the rise in NJ and is carried by summer mosquitos. Assuring disease protection is also critical, as contact with ill animals increases as more pets are outdoors. Remember it is a law in NJ to have your pet rabies vaccinated (and vaccines are free of charge at clinics in every town twice yearly!). Use flea and tick prevention on your pets to keep your family safe and decrease disease spread.
5) Don’t leave your pets outside unattended. All pets outside should have access to cold clean water, cooled shelter and be watched for conditions that lead to overheating. On a tie-out or in a fenced yard, dogs may bark at passers-by and raise their core temperatures to dangerous levels.
6) Take care walking your dog on hot sidewalks. Use the grass or dirt to avoid burning their pads.
7) Summer barbecues may be fun for your pet to attend, but keep a close eye on what they are eating. Many things that are enjoyable to us can be toxic to dogs, such as grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions and xylitol (a sweetener found foods like sugar free gums and candies). Too much of safe foods may cause gastrointestinal distress.
8) Be an Animals Advocate. If you see something that seems wrong — a pet tied outside with no water, a dog left in the yard, a friend feeding their dog grapes, etc. — say something. Animals can’t speak up for themselves and alerting their people to danger may save the pet’s life.