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Hot cars aren’t the only summer danger for animals

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Summer safety tips for pets

RedRover, a national animal welfare organization dedicated to bringing animals from crisis to care, has shared a list of summer safety tips for pets to help get families through the warm months.

“Our pets are like family, and we want to ensure they are kept safe as they are exposed to changing conditions. Just as you should never leave your child alone in a hot car, the same goes for your pets, as temperatures can rise swiftly in a very short amount of time and turn deadly,” said Nicole Forsyth, President and CEO of RedRover.

“Prevention is key, so remembering these quick and easy tips can make the summer more enjoyable for the whole family.”

• Hot surfaces: Surfaces such as asphalt, sand and concrete can burn your pets’ paws. Try to walk your pet early in the morning or later in the evening as the temperature cools down or walk them on the grass. If that isn’t possible, check the ground temperature by placing the back of your hand on the ground for at least 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your pet’s paws.

• Cars: Leaving your pet in your car, even in 70-degree weather, can lead to deadly consequences. A Stanford study found that a car’s interior can heat up by an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour, regardless of ambient temperature, and 80% of the temperature rise occurs within the first half-hour. Cracking the windows makes little difference on the internal temperature, so it is best to leave your dog at home where it is cool.

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• Dehydration: Make sure to check your pet’s water dish several times a day, and refill it with fresh, cool water. Ice cubes or frozen broth cubes can be added to encourage them to drink more. Adding wet food to their diet can also keep them hydrated.

• Heat stroke: In addition to making sure your pet is hydrated, keep them in the shade as often as possible when outdoors. While dogs and cats like to bask in the sun, direct sunlight can overheat them and cause heat stroke.

• Pools: While pools can be a great way to cool your dog down and prevent heat stroke, chlorine can upset a dog’s stomach and irritate their skin. Watch to make sure they don’t drink more than a mouthful of water, and don’t forget to rinse your dog with fresh water after their swim. A “kiddy pool” filled with fresh, cold water is a safer option.

• Fireworks: Loud noises can be very scary for animals. Try to keep your pet indoors when you know fireworks are planned. If you can’t, be sure to double-check your gate/fencing to ensure your pet won’t try to escape when startled.

• Sunburn: Animals can sunburn, too, especially those with short, thin or light-colored coats. Sunburns can be painful, and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Ask your veterinarian about animal-safe sunscreens and how to apply them properly.

• Barbeques: Food that is stuck to a barbecue after cooking can be too tempting for your pet to resist — licking the barbecue grate can result in serious burns to an animal’s tongue or mouth. Make sure to clean the grill thoroughly and close the lid, if possible. Lighter fluid is a poison, so store it out of your pet’s reach.

These are just a few tips to help make the summer months with your pets enjoyable and safe. For more information on RedRover and its programs and services, visit RedRover.org