The Humane Society of East Texas warns that the extreme heat during the summer months poses a deadly threat to animals.
Humane Society Executive Director Gayle Helms warns that with the arrival of warmer weather, your pets will undoubtedly want to spend more time outdoors. The following are some tips to help insure that you and your four legged companions have a healthy, happy and safe summer.
If you leave your dog outside (in a fenced yard, of course), make certain that they are provided with plenty of fresh water and adequate shade to protect them from the sun. Thoughtless cruelty is often inflicted on many dogs which are left by their owners in parked cars. Ten minutes in a parked car could be too long on a hot day. By then, the temperature inside the car could reach 160 degrees. That's hot enough to cause a dog to suffer a heat stroke. Pets don't perspire as people do. They cool themselves by panting. With only very hot air to breathe, your pets could suffer permanent brain damage within moments. If emergency care is not given, your pet could die. Heatstroke, characterized by excessive panting and salivation, lethargy, vomiting, an anxious or staring expression, a fast pulse rate and high body temperature, can cause brain damage and even death. If you should notice these symptoms in your pet, act quickly by immersing the animal in cool water or pouring cool water over the animal. You can also put ice packs on the animal's head. As soon as the animal cools off, take it to your veterinarian for medical attention. The best treatment for heatstroke is, of course, prevention. They may want to come along, but it's much kinder to leave your pets at home with plenty of fresh, cool water and shade.
Strenuous activity and excitement should be avoided on warm days. Plenty of fresh, cool water should always be available for your dog or cat. Refill the water dish frequently and keep the dish in a shaded spot. If your dog is tied outdoors, be sure he can reach the shade and his water dish. One of the most frequent complaints received concerns the dog owner who ties his dog outdoors on such a short lead that the poor dog can get no exercise, and in many cases, cannot even sit or lie down. Be sure to check your pet's water dish at least three times a day. Summer months are here, school is out and children will play with their pets, sometimes knocking over the water dish.
Ms. Helms suggests you check your pets regularly for fleas and ticks, which are more common in hot weather. If your pet wears a flea collar, inspect it weekly to make certain that he isn't allergic to the collar and that it's comfortable. For flea and tick control to be effective, your pet's entire environment must be treated, including the yard. Never use flea control products for dogs on cats, as they may ingest the powerful chemicals while grooming.
Horses, in particular, should receive special attention, They should never be forced to carry a heavy load; generous amounts of cool, fresh water must be supplied and frequent rest periods made a part of the daily routine. They should always have shade available.
A simple rule Ms. Helms says: Take care of your pets just like you take care of your children or yourself.