While sunshine and warmer weather are sure signs that summer is on the way, Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) wants to remind pet owners to keep their furry friends safe this season.
Animals cannot sweat like humans, and they are vulnerable to overheating quickly, especially when the temperature rises above 70 degrees. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh, cool water to your pets, and shade from the sun. Though pets need exercise during warm weather, take extra care when exercising older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and dogs with thick coats, as they are especially vulnerable to overheating. On hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours.
Another danger is leaving pets in a vehicle. In sunny weather, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to 120 degrees or more, even with windows left slightly open. Animals left in a hot car, even for just a few minutes, can suffer from heat stroke, brain damage, or death. In addition, leaving a pet unattended in a hot car can be grounds for animal cruelty charges. In warm weather, leave your pets at home instead of taking them with you on errands.
If you see an animal in distress in an unattended vehicle, first try to contact authorities at the location you are visiting. They may be able to help locate the vehicle’s owner to unlock it quickly. If security guards or other authorities are unavailable, call 911 or 206-296-PETS (7387) immediately.
Your pet’s paws can be burned when walking on hot pavement, and the skin on a dog's nose can sunburn. Be sure your animals have access to shade and lots of fresh, cool water when playing outdoors. Do not over-exert pets during the warmest hours of the day, and avoid long walks or extended exercise outdoors. If your dog or cat becomes overheated, apply cool water or cool, moist towels to their head, neck, and chest. Then immediately take the animal to a veterinarian. For additional warm weather precautions, consult your pet's veterinarian.
This is also the time of year when lawn care and gardening heats up. Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. These chemicals can also cause irritation if they get in contact with paws or skin. If you suspect your pet has ingested or otherwise come into contact with lawn and garden chemicals, contact your veterinarian immediately. Summer is also flea and tick season, so make sure you use a flea and tick treatment recommended by your veterinarian.
By taking these simple precautions, you and your pets will be able to enjoy the long summer days ahead, and keep yourselves healthy and safe.
*Editor's Note: Information provided by King County.