Pets Need a Vacation Too!
As the weather is warming up for summer, pet owners are reminded to keep their pets cool when traveling by car. When the temperature is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the air outside. Shade offers little protection on a hot day and moves with the sun. It only takes about 10 minutes on an 85-degree day for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees – even when the windows have been left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes, a car’s interior can reach 120 degrees.
Remember to follow these tips from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter this season so Fido can keep her cool:
- Don’t leave pets in parked cars for any period of time. Every summer, animals left in parked cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke. On a warm day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature in a car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes. Dogs and cats can’t perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. If you see an animal in a parked car during the summer, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store. If the owner does not return promptly, call the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter or 911.
- Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets while they’re enjoying the great outdoors so they can stay cool.
- Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.
- Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.
- Don’t take your pets to crowded summer events such as concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets. For your pet’s well being, leave her at home. Be especially aware of these threats during holidays, such as the Fourth of July.
- Check with your veterinarian to see if your pets should be taking heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be fatal in both dogs and cats.
- Another summertime threat is fleas and ticks. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.
- Make sure your pet is ALWAYS wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your pet, an ID tag may very well be his or her ticket home.