Santa Fe Scoop

Holiday prompts safety tips for pets

Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, and animal-welfare advocates say it’s a good time to consider your pet’s comfort.

The weekend may be a time of cookouts, camping, parties and road trips, but a bit of extra precaution can make the holiday a safe adventure for all, including four-legged friends.

Do not leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Parked cars can be deadly for pets, says the Humane Society of the United States. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On a 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.

Hot days can be taxing on anybody, but especially those beings with fur coats. Shade and water are a must, advocates say, anytime a pet is outside. Heat stroke can be fatal for pets as well as people.

Advocates also urge people to take care when exercising pets on warm days and bring plenty of water for pets and yourself. They advise pet owners to adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. Remember that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws and that care should be given to pets with white-colored ears, who are susceptible to skin cancer.

Know the signs of heat distress and have a plan to get your dog cooled down if he becomes overheated. Severe panting and drooling, lethargy, vomiting, and bright red gums are all signs. Cool your dog off with water or wet towels, bring him indoors, and get her to a vet immediately.

The summer season also means mosquitoes, insects that can give dogs heartworm if they are bitten by an infected bug. Have your pet tested for heartworm and then use a preventive treatment. Heartworm can cost thousands of dollars to treat and can lead to death if left untreated. 

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