Keeping those dog – and cat – days of summer safe

Keeping those dog – and cat – days of summer safe

The longer days of summer provide lots of opportunities for fun, not to mention relaxing sunbeam snoozes, for our animal friends.

However, a few extra precautions can keep furry companions safe and happy as the temperatures rise.

We still hear too many heartbreaking stories of animals locked in hot cars. Pet are in danger even on milder summer days. A study by Stanford University found that even on a 72-degree day, a car’s internal temperature rockets to 116 degrees within an hour. That’s enough to kill or seriously injure a pet or human left in a vehicle. Cracking the windows will not make a significant difference.

As the temperatures rise, make certain your co-pilot won’t be left waiting. Many websites and apps list pet-friendly stores, restaurants and recreation areas. Call ahead, plan trips during cooler parts of the day, or play it safe and leave your precious passenger at home.

Cars aren’t the only dangerous places for pets during summer months. Any climate that is not temperature-controlled can turn deadly, including backyards and homes without air conditioning. Be aware of your surroundings and how they will affect your pet.

Keeping those dog – and cat – days of summer safeWhen the air temperature is a pleasant 77 degrees, asphalt can heat to 125 degrees – a point where skin destruction can occur in 60 seconds. By the time the thermometer hits 87, asphalt temperatures can jump to 143 degrees. A good rule of thumb is to test the ground where your pet will be walking or resting with your bare foot or the back of your hand. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.

The Great outdoors
If you like to exercise with your pet, dawn and dusk are generally the coolest parts of the day. And remember to carry a bowl and fresh, clean water. There are a variety of convenient collapsible bowls available.

Many dogs and a few, rare cats love to make a big splash in the summer. However, even strong swimmers should not be left unattended near swimming pools or other bodies of water. Keep an eye out for accidents and steer dogs and cats away from drinking chlorinated or unsafe water. While swallowing a little water during a pool romp rarely results in anything more serious than slight GI discomfort, large amounts can cause irritation or burning of the esophagus and even trigger allergic reactions to chemicals.

Standing water, creeks and lakes can also contain bacteria and fungi harmful to animals, so bring plenty of fresh water on all summer adventures.

A few precautions and a little planning can keep summer safe for all members of your family – those with two and four legs.

Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 256-1ARF (1273)