The Heat Is On
Pet parents must be vigilant when it comes to keeping their pets safe during hot summer months
No one likes the scorching hot, hazy and humid days of summer, including our pets. While I sit inside my air conditioned house writing this article, the thermostat outside is topping out at 95 degrees. Welcome to summer in the D.C. metro region!
I know we all get tired of hearing the same message repeated over and over this time of year, and as responsible pet parents, we would never endanger our pets. Yet, there are still folks out there who don't listen, ignore the warnings or don't care about the risks to their cat or dog. So every year we see news story after news story about dogs left in vehicles to suffer or die, pets left outside in dangerously high temperatures, dogs suffering from heatstroke because their owner took them for a long walk in the midday sun. With no water.
This is some of the most irresponsible type of pet owner behavior, and it amazes me that people can rationalize their actions and lack such empathy for their pets. And please, make no mistake. It is not merely carelessness or irresponsibility, it is neglect and abuse — and punishible by law. Responsible citizens need to report any such incidents to the police or animal control agency. Although animal welfare groups like the ASPCA or The Humane Society do take such reports, they often lack the authority of enforcement.
As humans, we have many more tools available to us than our pets do, (including our brain) to help us deal with the heat and avoid unpleasant side effects. Precautions we would take for ourselves on a hot day must be taken for our pets, as well. Summertime dangers go far beyond hot cars, so take the time to become familiar with all the risks and precautions:
- Pets can drown just as easily as a child, so don't leave pets unattended around the swimming pool.
- Backyard BBQs pose unexpected dangers such as foods and beverages left around that are toxic to pets. Also, items such as corn cob holders, skewers hot grills, tiki torches and citronella candles.
- High-rise Syndrome: Windows left open indoors and pets, mostly cats, fall and can be seriously or fatally injured.
- Asphalt heats up rapidly and holds heat, sensitive paw pads are easily burned. Stick to shady areas.
- Dogs falling or jumping out of open car windows while vehicle is moving. Pets should be secured inside the vehicle while moving.
- Hydration is critical, your cat or dog should always have fresh water available.
- Know the Warning Signs of Heatstroke.
Let common sense be your guide and you'll avoid harrowing mishaps and potential tragedies. So bring on the heat and let's enjoy the summer!
Speaking of Summer, be sure to check out the Bow Wow Luau on June 21 at the Doggie Yappy Hour at Hotel Monaco in Old Town, Alexandria. The event is a fundraiser for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, featuring Hawaiian outfit contest and prizes, drink specials and leis, sponsored by The Canine Wingman Company.