Summer-izing The Family Pet
In most areas of the country, summertime is a fun experience. We humans select lighter clothing to wear, don a sun hat and apply sunscreen to avoid the harmful effects of the sun. But what about our companion pets? What steps can we take to care for our pets…how can we summer-ize our pet’s health during the hottest months of the year?
- Never leave an animal in a closed car, even if the window is rolled down slightly. Many people believe that the animal can get fresh air, but a strong sun can quickly raise the inside temperature to over 120 degrees, creating heatstroke conditions. If you park in the shade, remember the car is stationary but the sun moves, and sunrays on a windshield can magnify the temperature inside the vehicle quickly.
- Exercise your pet in the cooler morning or evening hours. Remember that they are closer to street level than you are, so avoid walking when the sun has heated the concrete or asphalt. Your pet will feel the reflected heat more than you will and a hot street surface could burn your companion’s paw pads.
- Avoid taking any animal to the beach or park where there is limited shade.
- Especially in the summertime, make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water.
- Around the house, make sure there are areas of shade during the day. In particularly hot areas of the country, it would be wise to bring the animal indoors during the hottest parts of the day.
- Remember that many snub-nosed dogs ( bulldogs and Pekingese, etc.), older and overweight pets may have difficulty regulating body temperature. It is very important that they are as comfortable as possible on hot days.
- Radiator coolant is often deadly and yet attractive to some animals. Make sure you avoid puddles of coolant overflows on your drive or on the street and keep your companion away from them. Also, the discharge water from air conditioning systems may contain minute traces of chemicals harmful to your pets.
- A timely shampoo and bath is as refreshing to your pet as it is to us humans! During the summer, bathing and grooming your pet not only is refreshing but will permit you to check for those summertime fleas and ticks.
By providing for the comfort of your family and your companion pet throughout the summer, you can enjoy the summer season, knowing that all family members, including the four- legged ones, have been summer-ized !
Fertilizers and Plants Can Be Dangerous to Your Pets!
Certain fertilizers and even plants can bring harm to your pets. A National Cancer Institute study during the 1990’s found that dogs who lived in areas where lawns were treated with chemicals such as 2,4-D several times a year were twice as likely to experience malignant growths. An EPA study (2001) also found that many fertilizer particulates were easily transferable via shoes and pet paws from the yard to the home and contaminating the air inside. For the sake of your entire human and pet family’s health, read and heed the DANGER warnings on all fertilizers and herbicides.
Even though you are vigilant regarding your use of chemicals, be aware that some of Nature’s most beautiful plants and flowers pose potential great dangers to child and pet alike. Plants such as Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, Schefflera and Elephant’s Ear grow beautiful huge leaves but these leaves contain calcium oxalate, causing burning and irritation in the mouth; lily of the valley, crocus and castor bean may cause kidney failure in some cats. Oleander, azalea and kalanchoe may effect the heart. Check with your local doctor and vet regarding plant species in your area that may pose dangers to your loved ones.