Summer is a great time for enjoying the outdoors with your pet. Here are a few tips to make sure your pet has a safe summer.
KEEP YOUR DOG COOL: Dogs have few sweat glands and use panting to get rid of excess heat. If your dog is panting, it does not mean he is uncomfortable; it just means his internal cooling mechanism has kicked in. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Try putting out a kiddie pool with cool water for your pet to enjoy. Make sure he has plenty of shade available. Be careful to not overexercise him during the summer months, and keep him indoors when it’s extremely hot. When the temperature is high, do not let your dog walk or stand on hot asphalt, because their sensitive paw pads can burn.
POOL TIME: Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
A dog’s eyes, nose and ears can be more sensitive to chlorine than a human’s, so monitor them carefully. Never leave your pet around a body of water unsupervised.
VACATION TIME: If you bring your pet on vacation this summer, make sure he wears a collar with up-to-date tags and is microchipped. Know the pet regulations in the area you are visiting, and have his rabies certificate with you. Be sure to pack any medications he may need.
SOCIAL GATHERINGS: If your pet is joining in on the festivities of a crawfish boil or barbecue, remember that the food and drink for the human guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Snacks enjoyed by humans should not be shared with your pet as they can cause severe digestive issues in both dogs and cats.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS: Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, excessive drooling, weakness, disorientation, collapse or loss of consciousness, seizure, bloody diarrhea and vomit, and an elevated body temperature of more than 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, such as pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke because they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly and the overweight and those with medical conditions, should be kept cool inside as much as possible.
ADOPTION EVENT: Adoptable dogs from Animal Rescue New Orleans will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Palmer Park Arts Market, South Carrollton and South Claiborne avenues. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FERAL CAT WORKSHOP: The importance of trap-neuter-return for neighborhood cats will be emphasized during an LA/SPCA workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. For information, call (504) 762-3306 or visit la-spca.org.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@ la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at arno. firstname.lastname@example.org, call (504) 571-1900 or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.