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Pet Safety - Hot Weather and Cars

If your pet must stay in a car in the summer heat, then you should stay with them - when it gets too hot for you, it's too hot for your furry buddy.
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If your pet must stay in a car in the summer heat, then you should stay with them - when it gets too hot for you, it's too hot for your furry buddy.

It’s July, and the southern half of the country is really sweltering in the heat.  High summer temperatures can pose health risks to both people and animals.

     You can help your pet stay safe in the oppressive heat by giving it protection from the sun and access to fresh water whenever it is outside.  If your pet stays outside, find a place that offers shade throughout the day.  One way to help it stay cool is to fill a small child’s pool with water so it can jump in and cool down.

Limit activity during the heat of the day even if your pet wants to run or play. When walking your pet, remember that hard surfaces, like streets, sidewalks, even sand, heat up quickly and could burn the pads on the animal’s feet.  Plan to walk in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are not so high, and try to stick to the grassy areas as much as possible.

     Elderly animals, or those that are sick or overweight, should not be left outside in extreme temperatures.  And remember that any animal, even young healthy ones, can quickly show signs of heat stress – like glazed eyes, dizziness, stumbling, drooling.  If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, cool it down as much as possible and immediately take it to a veterinarian.  Prompt action could save your pet’s life.

     One fun idea to help keep your dog not only cool but also entertained is to buy dog popsicles.    Or you can make them, but make sure they do not contain chocolate or artificial sweeteners. 

     And no list of hot weather pet safety tips would be complete without a reminder never to leave your pet in a parked car for any reason, not for the shortest period of time, even with the engine running and the air conditioner blowing.  You wouldn’t put your pet in an oven, so don’t leave it in a parked car.

Here in the heat of summer make an extra effort to ensure your best friend stays safe and healthy, when we’re speaking of pets!
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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.