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Part 2

by Diana Guerrero 
Copyright© 1997 By Diana Guerrero 

The following article has been provided by the above author. All copy rights are held by the author and any reproduction of this material in whole or in part must have the authors approval. 



Different seasons bring different concerns for all pets. The hot weather air, dryness, and other challenges complicate life for all the different species and especially those pampered pets. Here is a partial listing of tips and considerations. 

On a mild day, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to over 120 to 160 degrees in only ten minutes. It doesn’t matter if you leave the windows cracked or not! Plan on leaving your critter at home rather than traveling with them and doing errands with them in the vehicle.

This can also be a problem if you park in the shade since the sun moves, creating a death trap for an animal enclosed in a vehicle. Dogs have a higher temperature than we do and get hotter at lower temperatures than we do. Their only cooling mechanisms are from panting and licking their paws to cool them by evaporation.

Unfortunately without cool water and the ability to cool down the dog can suffer from heat stroke....literally becoming a cooked hot dog. The best method of beating the summer heat is to not take the dog out in the car!

If you must, never leave the dog unattended in an enclosed vehicle; have window grills so that maximum air is allowed through the car; use space blankets and reflective covers with shade to minimize heat absorption in the vehicle; carry cold water for the dog and a mist sprayer with cool water; provide a wire crate so that the dog can be placed safely in the shade outside of the car if you cannot be accompanied by the dog.

Dogs that seem to be more susceptible to heat stress are dogs with shortened muzzles, such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boxers, Pekinese, Shih Tzu, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, and the Japanese Chin. Symptoms that your pet is in trouble can be: excessive panting, not responsive to commands, warm and dry skin, high fever, unusual expression, rapid heart rate, or vomiting.

Truck beds are not good transportation for a pet. The pet should ideally be in a crate or belted or crated inside a vehicle. Summer weather makes the truck bed radiate heat and paw pads could burn or the animal could be experiencing prolonged heat exposure. With the heat and insects of the summer it is best to refrain from this type of transport. In addition, bugs can hit the animal in the eyes, or sting them, and with the velocity of a vehicle can do some pretty horrible damage.

You should have current identification tags and an emergency contact on the tags while you are traveling. The contact should be someone who can be reached and knows your itinerary or who you can check in with. This could be a neighbor, friend, family member, or veterinarian.

There are a couple of books out on hotels and places that welcome pets. Check those out as you plan your trip. Make sure you are a responsible pet owner on the trip and clean up your pet’s feces with your scoop or baggies, bring towels from home for muddy paws (don't use the hotel towels for this!), and bathe your pet at a dog wash instead of in your resort’s tub.

Keep photographs of your pet with you on the trip and make sure you have a travel crate and secure tie-out in addition to your regular pet supplies. If you cannot take your pet with you, look for a quality pet professional to care for him while you are gone. Get quality referrals to a petsitter, boarding kennel or related service so you don’t come home to find your pet missing or other consequences.

DOG BEACH & DOG PARK ADVENTURES Make sure you take care with your pet at the beach. Most dogs are allowed off leash at the "Dog Beach" & "Dog Park," and make sure you follow the rules. Most dogs will want to fight if they are on leash and feel threatened. Be sure to watch your dog and be alert to if he gets too hot so you can get him into the water to cool off or into some shade.

Carry bags for clean up and keep your leash handy. You will want to make sure your dog gets a wash with clean water after swimming in the salt water and has access to clean water after playing there. Be sure to also carry fresh water to quench the thirst of your precious pooch! Take care that your pooch doesn’t eat sand either, since tidbits found in the sand could cause some intestinal irritations!

Other hazards at the beach could be roller bladers and bicyclists on the board walk. Make sure that your pet doesn’t get any bright ideas to run after them! If your pet has a history of this type of activity, use a long line so you can control the action and prevent problems.

With the heat are critters coming out of hibernation. One of the other risks to your pet is the poisonous snakes. Rushing to an emergency clinic would not be fun at anytime so prevention is the best policy.

When out in areas where it is known there are snakes, keep your pet on the lead. Circumvent any snakes on the path or backtrack the way you came to avoid them. Know where your emergency clinics are and what procedures there are to follow if you are out in wilderness areas with your pet; preparedness is the best policy.

April showers are not as traumatic for dogs as summer thundershowers. Many dogs have a phobia surrounding thunder. You need to consider obtaining professional help with this phobic behavior from an animal behavior consultant. Problems like these only escalate; you need to understand how to not accidentally reinforce the fear. Unfortunately, many owners try and comfort the dog and end up complicating matters.

Many professionals will prescribe a program of desensitization; sometimes this will include drug therapy for the more dramatic cases. Your participation and preplanning is required to work through this. In the meantime, make sure you have a secure area for your pet and an ID tag on the animal at all times. If your pet mutilates their paws or teeth due to frantic escape attempts make sure you get help right away!

Lawn herbicides or pesticides can poison pets. Keep your animals out of the yard while spraying and use caution for several days later. Be alert to your pet walking on these surfaces since cleaning or licking their paws later can contribute to ingestion of the poison. Also take care if you are poisoning pests since your pets may ingest one of the dead critters and suffer from those consequences. Snail bait, rodent poison and related items are other dangers.

During the summer heat cars and trucks can overheat and overflow antifreeze and other coolants. These can attract pets and other animals if ingested even a small amount can cause an animal's death. There are some new critter friendly products on the market. Look for them at your local parts store and other shops.

Most of the summer holiday hazards have been covered here under other topics. One that has not is the Fourth of July celebration. Many pets and owners dread this time of year! Fireworks can cause some problems or extreme trauma in animals; symptoms range from low level quivering and pacing or whining to full panic, and self-mutilation.

If you have this problem be alert once fireworks go on sale. You can try confinement, tranquilizers prescribed by your veterinarian, or isolation in quiet areas. It is recommended that you seek a behaviorist’s help in advance (several months) and work at desensitization training for permanent results and relief.

Continued in Part One: Pet Precautions: Part 1



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