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Summer Pet Safety

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The picture is hard to look at, but the problem is real.  In Washington, a dog followed his owner for over a mile before the human realized the pads on the pet's feet were burned by walking on hot pavement.  It's up to you to keep your best friend safe.


You may have big plans to celebrate the Fourth of July but do they include your furry friend? If so, this is a good time to make sure your plans include keeping your pet safe.

Travel plans often mean car rides. Now some pets, dogs especially, love to go riding in a car. Make sure you are going places that are pet-friendly, because if you must make a stop you just cannot leave your pet in the car, even for a few minutes, even with the windows cracked.

On a relatively mild 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car can climb to more than 100-degrees in just ten minutes. In ninety-plus degree weather, it will climb faster and higher. It doesn’t take long before the car becomes too hot for an animal to survive.

If you take your pet for a walk, avoid the pavement, especially during the heat of the day. Back to our mild 85-degree day – the temperature of the pavement can be more than 140 degrees – hot enough tofry an eggin just five minutes - so avoid pavement, and artificial grass.

Use the 7-second rule: press the back of your hand firmly on the surface for seven seconds to determine if it would be comfortable for your dog. Another way to test it is to walk barefoot on it. If it’s too hot to do that, it’s too hot.

Perhaps you plan to take your pet with you to outdoor events; if so, make arrangements to leave before the fireworks begin. When they light up the night sky, what for us is a time of fun and celebration can become a time of terror for our animal friends. Their ears are much more sensitive than ours; to them, the sound of exploding fireworks can be painful and frightening. A dog that may ordinarily be calm around crowds of people could become very anti-social if panicked by the intense noise.

Pets in hot cars, pets and hot pavement, pets and fireworks – none of those is a good combination. Protecting your pet not just on holidays but all summer long could keep your best friend safe and free to enjoy every day – with you, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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