How to keep your pets safe in the heat and during storms
The Warm weather has arrived in New York City and that means we'll be spending more time outdoors. During this time of year, pet owners take their pets to the park and take longer walks with their pets. Spending more time outdoors when temperatures are hot, does pose higher risks for your pets. Veterinarians report an increase in injuries, ear infections, skin issues and heat stroke in pets this time of year. Pets don't sweat the way we do, so they can easily become overheated.
Here are some tips to prevent your pet from becoming overheated:
- If your pet shows signs of heat exhaustion, bring them to a cool shady spot. If you are near your home, bring them inside to a cooled room or put them near a fan and give them fresh cool water. Put a damp towel over their body and take them to the vets office asap. Do not immerse your pet in cold water, it can cause them to go into shock.
- Never leave your pet in a car. Although most pets enjoy riding in cars, it is never a good idea to take them with you if your intentions are to leave them in the car, even if it is only for a few minutes. Most people think opening windows are enough to keep a pet safe, but during warmer months your pet can die in a short amount of time if left in the car. In less than 10 mins, your pet can develop heat stroke inside a hot car. It is also against the law in New York State to leave a pet inside a hot car. If you ever see an animal alone inside a vehicle, notify law enforcement immediately.
- You can also apply sunscreen to pets. Like humans, they can get sunburn too. Never use sunscreen unless it's approved for use on pets. Apply every 3-4 hours while your pets are outdoors. Apply to spots with little or no hair, such as bellies, ears and nose.
- Do not shave your pet. People tend to think shaving their pets hair keeps them cooler, when actually your pets coat is designed to keep them cool. You can trim their coat, but never shave it all off. Be sure to leave at least 1" to prevent sunburn.
- Don't walk your pet in the heat of the day. Early morning and late evening are the best times.
- Keep your pets paws cool. Protect your pets paws on hot surfaces such as cement and asphalt. Also remember metal gets very hot in the sun, so be careful of any metal in your car or truck.
- Never let your pet ride in the back of truck, it is unsafe and they could get seriously injured or die.
- Be sure to use proper protection against parasites.
- If you take your pet out on the water, be sure they are wearing a pet approved life vest.
- Keep fireworks away from pets. Fireworks are made with chemicals that are poisonous to pets if eaten. Be sure to clean up any fireworks in your yard before letting your pets outside. Most pets are very afraid of the loud sounds from fireworks and they will try to escape from fear. Be sure to place them in a safe place with plenty of fresh water and a comfortable bed. You can also purchase a Thunder Jacket which helps pets that suffer from anxiety for any reason. Another thing you can do is ask your vet to prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine, for you to have on hand for times your pet is suffering from anxiety.
- Thunderstorms can cause some dogs to become very anxious, which often leads to severe anxiety. The thunder is not the only thing that negatively affects pets, the barometric pressure and build up of static electricity in the air makes pets uncomfortable. This buildup occurs before an impending storm, which is why some pets will display signs of nervousness even before the first sound of thunder. Not all dogs are scared, but the ones that are will display signs that they are scared such as, shivering, whimpering, hiding and constant movement as if they are trying to escape. Your pets anxiety must be handled, or it can turn into a phobia. Signs include panicked and destructive behavior, such as soiling on carpeting or destroying furniture. Make sure all doors and windows are tightly closed so your pet can not escape.
Some things you can do to calm your pet during a thunderstorm
- Bring your pet into a room with no doors to outside and no windows, this can help reduce the static electricity.
- Put a thunder jacket on your pet, they reduce anxiety and stress in your pet.
- Ask your veterinarians office if they can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication, be sure to fill it and have it on hand ahead of time.