Never leave a pet or a child alone in a car in hot weather. Even temperatures in a car parked in the shade with a window open can quickly soar to 120 degrees. That kind of heat can cause brain damage or kill a pet from heatstroke.
Whether your pet stays outdoors all day or spends a leisurely day inside, make sure you have plenty of fresh clean water easily available for your dog or cat.
If your pet is in a hot, confined area for any period and becomes hot to the touch; its gums, tongue or ears are pale with a grayish tinge; or it pants heavily or shows other signs of distress, cool it down gradually by spraying it with cool water or rub its pads with alcohol. If the pet's suffering continues without relief, take it to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. It may be suffering heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Have a shady protected area for your dog if it spends time outdoors. Never leave a pet out in the midday heat without water and shade. Leaving any pet in direct sunlight for long periods of time is cruel and can be deadly.
When you're at the beach and putting on the sunscreen, don't forget about your pets – they can get sunburned, too. Noses and ear tips are vulnerable to the summer sun rays and many pets with light-colored fur suffer burns and skin cancers. Too much sun can also cause dehydration. Salt from seawater can irritate dogs' paws and infect their ears. After a day at the beach, give your dog a good bath to rinse off the salt water and cool him.
The mosquitoes that spread heartworm will be out there just waiting to infect the unprotected pet. Make sure your dog is tested for heartworm and takes the preventive medication that will help him avoid this debilitating and fatal disease.
Many plants and most fertilizers and insecticides will poison your pet if ingested. Don't allow your pet to run freely off the leash, especially in wooded areas. Make sure it doesn't eat outdoor plants, and contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet licks up fertilizer or pesticides.
The second Sunday of September has been designated Pet Memorial Day. It is a good time to reflect on the good time you have shared with a loyal canine or feline companion. Thousands of pet lovers who have buried their pets in pet cemeteries take this opportunity to visit the grave site and participate in memorial services like the one held at the Bideawee Pet Memorial Park in Wantagh.
With the arrival of warm weather, you'll be tempted to open your windows and let in summer breezes. Each year thousands of pets are injured or killed from falls from open upper-story windows. Window guards or heavy-duty screens can help you enjoy fresh air and protect against tragedy.
Taking your pet along for a bike ride isn't a good idea. Even if secured in a basket, cats can become terrified and stressed by the calmest bike ride. Having your dog trail along on a leash may put it through a more strenuous trip than it can handle. A frightened or distracted dog can pull you over. Worse is a dog trailing along without a leash. It can get can caught up in confusing traffic patterns and get injured or killed by vehicle traffic.
That great walk in the park can turn into a frantic trip to the animal hospital if your pet gets at the garbage basket. Peach and other fruit pits, poultry bones, food wrappers and other tasty indigestible items can lodge in a pet's throat or block an intestinal tract. Always have your pet on a leash when outdoors, especially when you walk or jog by a garbage can.