Every summer first responders are called to the scene of a child or pet left in a car. Already in 2017, 15 children have died, most of them in Texas. Pets, especially dogs, suffer the same deadly fate, and K-9 units are not immune; even in my own community, a K-9 four-legged officer named Nyx died after left in a hot car three years ago. Although it’s fun for us to take our pets on a car ride, summer is not the best season to do so. Summer and pets and cars can lead to tragedy, so it’s best to leave your furry companion in the coolness of the house while you are out and about.
The hot season poses another threat to our pets: fireworks. Although we humans may think the colorful display to be amazing and we tend to ignore the noise, the flashes, booms, and shrills of fireworks upset many pets. A dog’s ears are more sensitive than a human’s; in fact, dogs hear higher frequencies than people and they hear much better than we do. Therefore, the noise from fireworks is worse for them. During the 4th of July week, many pets escape, becoming lost, which can lead to death being hit by a car or land the animal as a stray at the city shelter/pound. In fact, reports say shelters receive more animals during the 4th of July week than any other time. Therefore, keep your pets secure in a room in your home with comforting things like its pet bed and toys, as well as food and water. Give your pet a safe place to be inside your home while firework displays, sparklers, and other 4th of July paraphernalia are being used.
There are many things you can do to help your pet be safe during this time of year; here are few ideas:
Learn more summer and Fourth of July safety tips at these websites:
Have a wonderful week!
Summer seems to have arrived in many parts of the country. These warming days bring unique safety concerns for our pets. Here are a few tips for enjoying a safe summer with your furry friends:
Spring weather can be wild and wacky, but one thing is for sure: warming weather means more time outdoors. But this better weather and outdoor time spring can also bring out nasty pests that harm our pets.
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks can cause not just irritation but also great harm to our dogs and cats. According to Web MD, fleas, though tiny, can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. At a minimum, fleas cause itching; they are known to be the most common cause of skin disease in dogs and cats. Ticks can bring Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever not only to humans, but to our pets as well.
With warming weather, many of our animals spend more time outside. Running through grass, exploring the wonderful Wyoming forests, and encountering other pets while outdoors can bring your dog or cat into contact with fleas and ticks. And your pets can bring these pesky critters into your home. But, you can restrain that exposure.
There are a myriad of preventive programs to curb these pests, and therefore, a pet parent's worry. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent fleas and ticks from infecting and affecting your dog or cat. You can purchase preventive measures from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store. You may also want to consult the Pet MD website for more information on fleas and ticks; the site includes a Flea and Tick Survival Guide: http://www.petmd.com/flea-tick-survival-guide#. Learn more about fleas and ticks and their affect on pets at http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-flea-and-tick-overview.
Flies and Mosquitoes
Fleas and ticks are not the only minute pests to be concerned about. Biting flies and gnats can be obnoxious to humans and their animals and may at times carry disease. Mosquitoes, too, not only pester people, but they also bother our animals. Fur provides some protection, but ears and noses are vulnerable. If you live near a water source or take your dog to your favorite fishing hole or to the lake, you should be concerned about mosquitoes and your pet. In fact, mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus as well as heartworm, a major disease affecting dogs; cats can also get it. Although Wyoming is not typically a heartworm prevalent state, incidents have risen during the past decade, according to researchers (view heartworm incident maps at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/incidence-maps).
In addition to the diseases that our pets can obtain from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, dogs and cats can be allergic to these tiny problematic creatures. My springer/cocker mix, Mary, for example is allergic to many environmental objects, including grass, some trees, and mosquitoes. The only way my husband and I knew what allergies she has was to get her tested. Yes, it's an outlay of money, but we now know how best to help her and we know to protect her from mosquitoes. So, when we plan to travel to a moist, humid climate or to a lake or river, my husband and I make sure Mary is protected from mosquitoes.
Being outdoors during spring and summer is fun for us and for our pets, particularly our dogs. But remember there are tiny creatures out there just waiting for a warm body, ours and our pets, on which to inhabit. Therefore, take the needed precautions and purchase those preventative remedies to keep your pet from being infected by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Talk with your veterinarian and keep your furry friend safe this season!
The July 4th holiday is just around the corner, and with it comes the sparks, flashes, and booms of fireworks. Although most people enjoy watching a fireworks display, our pets may seek refuge from the thunderous noise and intense bursts of light. Sometimes that “seeking refuge” manifests itself in ripped up carpeting,
Do you know that many pets are negatively affected by loud noises, such as thunderstorms and fireworks? Sometimes such anxieties originate from being exposed to a sudden, loud, disturbing noise even when young that results in a lasting bad memory. The fear of fireworks may be from light flares which accompany the noise, the strong sulfur smell that comes after the explosion, or the suddenness or frequency of the noise (such as a screeching rocket).
As the July 4th holiday approaches and summer progresses with its storm activity, there are ways you can help your pet deal with its anxiety of loud noises.
Too many times during the summer months, dogs get left in vehicles, their humans thinking if the windows are rolled down a bit and/or they park in the shade, the dog will be all right. Afterall, most dogs love car rides and spending time with their humans during travel; and, notably, we people enjoy having our furry friends for a ride-along. Yet, summer is a bad time to take your dog for a drive and then leave it in the vehicle while you run errands or have a doctor or hair appointment.
Studies show the temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes. The inside of a vehicle, even with the windows cracked, can climb to nearly 150 degrees. Children and pets left inside vehicles, even with windows opened a crack, can suffer heat stroke and die, and unfortunately, that happens all too often.
Each year, an average of 38 children and numerous dogs die because of being left in cars during summer. As of the end of June this year, 15 children had died from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, and many dogs have already succumbed to death in a hot car, including a Georgia K-9 dog left in the cruiser by his police handler last month.
A veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward, created a video in which he showcases the rising temperature and describes the ramifications of leaving a dog inside a vehicle, even with all four windows cracked about an inch. See the YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tJJ79YoFvM. Dogs and children do not tolerate heat as well as adults; in fact, dogs don't sweat in the same way as humans, so their ability to cool down from hot temperatures isn't as effective as ours.
So, keep your dog cool the remainder of this hot season and don't leave your beloved friend (or your children) in the car!
Other ways to help keep your dog cool include:
Red Rover, an animal welfare nonprofit, offers tips and other information about keeping pets cool in summer. Visit their website for more information: http://www.redrover.org/mydogiscool.
With the dawning of June, summer is nearly upon us (and for some, the hot season has already arrived!). Keep your pets safe this summer by following these tips:
· Don’t leave pets unattended in your vehicle. Cars quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, especially on warm or sunny days, even with the windows slightly open.
· Ensure your pets’ vaccinations are up-to-date and that heartworm, flea and tick medications have been administered. Summer brings out rabies-carrying creatures, such as skunks and raccoons, and fleas and ticks are abundant this time of year as well. Protect your pets! Consult your veterinarian for more information on heartworm, Lyme disease, rabies and other life-threatening diseases.
· When planning your dog’s daily walk, seriously consider early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. If you have to walk mid-day, take a shorter route, and remember that sidewalks can burn the pads of a dog’s paws.
· If your dog spends time outdoors in a kennel, ensure he has plenty of fresh, cool water and shelter. Rain and thunderstorms can pop up quickly, particularly in the afternoon when you may be elsewhere, such as work. And, NEVER chain or tie your dog out – lightening striking a nearby tree, heat exhaustion, dehydration and numerous insect bites are just a few of hazards posed to tethered dogs.
· For your cat’s protection, keep her indoors. Cats can be purr-fectly content indoor pets – they just need is a bit of playtime, a cat tree and other enrichment. Keeping your kitty indoors protects her from death by car, rabies from roaming creatures, and other safety issues, such as other cats and roaming dogs.
· Pesticides, weedkiller and other chemicals pose dangerous risks to pets and may even result in death. Ensure your pet cannot get into any of these hazardous products, and highly consider using organic products for your garden and yard.
· If your pet travels with you, make sure his/her ID tags are on the collar – you might even consider microchipping your pet before traveling. Also, use a leash to walk your pet for its bathroom break. One of the worst ways to ruin your vacation is to lose your pet.
· Prior to traveling, look into accommodations that accept pets. Here are a few websites that can help you plan your pet-friendly vacation: http://www.petswelcome.com/ and http://www.petsonthego.com/.
· If you don’t take your pet on vacation with you, look into hiring a reliable pet sitter. Ask friends or your vet for recommendations.
· Don’t leave your pets home alone if you’re gone for an extended period of time. Even asking friends to “drop by” to feed and water isn’t enough. Things can happen if a pet is left alone for days – running out of water, yard and house destruction, incessant barking which can result in upset neighbors – and possibly a fine to you by animal control.
· Don’t let the dog bite! Summer is the peak season for dog bites because of the increased number of children and dogs playing outdoors. Training, socialization and spaying/ neutering your dog help reduce the risk of dog bites. Also, remember to teach your children good manners around pets. To learn more about dog bites and how to prevent them, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/avoid_dog_bites.html.
Following these suggestions will help you, your family, and your pets have a safer, more enjoyable summer.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.