The ins and outs of summer pet safety

Summertime means fun in the sun for people and their pets, but a good time can quickly turn dangerous if owners aren’t careful.

As the temperatures climb, pet owners need to keep an eye on their beloved pets to ensure their safety.

There are certain issues that arise during the warm months that demand attention.

Dr. Jeffrey Santee of the Countryside Veterinary Hospital in Shelton advises pet owners to provide every pet with fresh cool water at all times. (The amount of water will vary with the size of the dog and the level of activity). This will help your pets to avoid heat stroke, which can affect any dog, but more quickly with a larger dog. The main symptoms of heat stroke are panting, salivating, running a fever, collapsing, and unresponsiveness.

“If in doubt, call your vet, even if your pet isn’t having distinct signs of heat stroke. It’s always better to stay safe when you are unsure,” Santee explained.

Parking in the shade or leaving the windows open does not provide enough cool air for an animal once temperatures reach a certain point.

According to a study done by San Francisco State University, a car’s internal temperature can rise up to 66 degrees Fahrenheit above the outside temperature within 30 minutes on a sunny day. This means that temperatures can reach as high as 136 degrees Fahrenheit, on a 70-degree day, which can kill an animal.

If a pet is spotted inside a car and is showing distress, Santee suggests to first go into nearby establishments to try find the owner.

“Do not try to open the car doors. A cat might escape and a dog might attack,” he said.

Animals should avoid going outside between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. because that’s when the sun is at its strongest, according to Santee.

“Most dogs are pretty tough to warm temperatures, but, if possible, hold off exercise until midday,” Dr. Santee adds.

Also, during that time period, light-colored animals are at risk to get sunburned (much like fair-skinned people). The burns typically take place on their ear tips and the top of the nose.

The only way to prevent sunburn for pets is to avoid being outside during hot temperatures.

In addition to watching out for health concerns, the summer is an opportunity to have fun with pets while staying cool.

Tracy Sellas of Shelton said her golden retriever loves the Shelton’s dog park.

“Eris loves to go for a swim in the [Shelton Dog] park and Sunnyside Park to cool off. She loves to splash.”

Jen Belden and her daughters Anabelle and Amery adore taking their dog, a Golden Retriever named Lokii, on walks along the trials. Jen explain that she “always takes the big trials, not the grass. That way, we can try to avoid any ticks. Ticks are our biggest problem. Lokii wears a specific collar and we check for ticks every night. Lokii doesn’t mind, in fact he thinks that it’s a daily message!”

Christopher Nives, who owns a Labrador said, “Charger loves to go in his own kiddie pool.”

Charger also likes nap in the cool basement and play with tennis balls.

Taking a few precautions to keep pets safe will make it easier for everyone to join in on the summer fun, according to Santee.