How Do I? Online Services
Warm Weather Care - Tips for You and Your Pets

Warm weather is a time for both you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors, but along with the fun, the season also offers up situations that can endanger your pet. By taking precautions, you can decrease the chance that disaster will happen.

Unlike people, whose perspiration keeps them cool, pets have hardly any sweat glands at all. They do have sweat glands between their toes, but it's not enough to carry heat away. What they do is pant. Panting helps dispel some heat but it really isn't very efficient, which is why hot weather, for both cats and dogs, is uncomfortable weather.

The following are some tips for pet owners to keep their furry friends safe during warm weather conditons:

  • In nice weather you may be tempted to take your pet with you in the car while you travel or do errands. But during warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes, even if you're parked in the shade. This can mean real trouble for your companion animals left in the car. Dogs and cats can't perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Pets who are left in hot cars even briefly can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can even die. Don't think that just because you'll be gone "just a minute" that your pet will be safe while you're gone; even an air conditioned car with the motor off isn't healthy for your pet. To avoid any chance that your pet will succumb to the heat of a car this summer, be sure to play it safe by leaving your pet cool and refreshed at home while you're on the road. And if you do happen to see a pet in a car alone during warm weather, alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call animal care services or the police department immediately.

  • It is very dangerous to drive with a dog in the back of a pick-up truck. Not only can flying debris cause serious injury, but a dog may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car. Dogs should ride either in the cab (in a crate or wearing a seat belt harness designed for dogs) or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck.
  • Summer is often a time when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens. But beware: Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals.

  • With people and dogs spending more time outside, dog bites, are likely to increase in the summer months. Spaying and neutering your dog reduces the likelihood that he will bite and provides many other health benefits.

  • Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your pet, an ID tag may very well be his or her ticket home.

  • Check with your veterinarian to see if your pets should be taking heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be fatal in both dogs and cats.

  • Pets and pools can equal disaster. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise a pet in a pool.

  • Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets while they're enjoying the great outdoors so they can stay cool.

  • If you plan on traveling with your pet during the summer, take the time to prepare for your furry friends in advance. Many airlines have summer pet embargoes, and most trains and ships do not allow pets other than service animals.

  • Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws.

  • Another summertime threat is fleas and ticks. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick dangerous and even fatal, even when used according to instructions.

  • Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.

  • Don't take your pets to crowded summer events such as concerts or fairs. The loud noises, especially foreworks, and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets. For your pet's well being, leave her at home. Be especially aware of these threats during holidays, such as the Fourth of July.

  • In summer heat your pet can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These conditions are very serious and could cause your pet to die. You should be aware of the signs of heat stress, which could include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. If your pet does become overheated, you need to immediately lower his body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get him to a veterinarian immediately.

Unscreened Windows – Cat Caution

Cat owners are seemingly unaware of what vets are calling High-Rise Syndrome. During the summer months, cat owners open their windows to enjoy the breeze, but at the same time, put their cats at potential harm. Unscreened windows pose a real danger to cats as they become intrigued by a passing bird or wind-carried leaf, and fall out. These accidents can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises—and even death.

The City of Long Beach's Animal Care Service point out these common cat myths:

  • Cats have excellent survival instincts, and they don’t deliberately “jump from high places that would be dangerous.
  • Cats have an incredible ability to focus their attention on whatever can become distracting enough to cause them to lose their balance and fall.
  • When cats fall from high places, they don’t land squarely on their feet. Instead, they land with their feet slightly splayed apart, which can cause severe head and pelvis injuries.

The City of Long Beach's Animal Care Service encourages cat owners to make sure that snug and sturdy screens are installed on all windows and that cats are required to be indoor companions. Cats are susceptible to outside dangers such as cars, other animals and disease if allowed to roam outside. The City of Long Beach Annimal Care Service receives hundreds of lost cats and kittens due to no identification.

In case of an emergency, it's important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. Check the animal for signs of heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.

If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps to gradually lower her body temperature immediately. Follow these tips, and it could save their life:

  • Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck, and chest or immerse her in cool (not cold) water.
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Take them directly to a veterinarian.