Summer Safety for Dogs
For dogs, summer often means trips to the beach, time in the pool and delicious dropped hot dogs. It can also mean if their owner isn’t careful- burnt paw pads, dehydration, heatstroke and even death. It is vital as the temperature starts climbing outside to review safety information for the furry friend in your life. Laws have also recently changed in Georgia regarding the tethering of pets outside partially due to the dangerous heat factor in the state. Be sure to abide by these laws and safety restrictions to have a fun, safe summer.
Beating the Heat
- Keep Paws Safe! Asphalt can burn your dog’s paws when degrees climb. Avoid prolonged exposure to hot pavement or sand. Remember that dogs sweat primarily through their feet, meaning that fans and other cooling methods may be less effective to their overall temperature.
- Limit Exercise! Exercise can cause heat stroke or difficulty breathing, especially in breeds with shorter muzzles. Keep walks to a minimum during extreme heat and keep an eye out for heatstroke. Some signs include heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, vomiting, dizziness, seizure, or unconsciousness.
- Humidity Is Dangerous! Temperature is not the only danger for our canines. When dogs pant, they evaporate moisture from their lungs which cool their body. In high humidity, this can make it so dogs are unable to cool themselves.
Keeping Bugs Away
- Act Before Bugs Do! High heat means ideal temperatures for mosquitos, fleas and ticks. All three thrive and multiply in warmer climates and bring with them a whole host of diseases. The best way to keep your pet safe is with preventative for fleas and ticks as well as ensure that any water reservoirs such as bowls are emptied daily.
- Check Your Pets! Always be sure to look over your pet’s coat and check that no ticks or fleas have infested their fur. If so, take the necessary precautions to remove the pests and seek further treatment to prevent them from further multiplying.
- Water Pests Exist! Be sure to check at your local beach or lake for water conditions. Hazards such as jellyfish or sea lice can be dangerous to your pet.
- Bring Pets With You! Hot cars can become deadly in a matter of minutes. Even on cooler days in the low 80s, in the closed box environment of a vehicle, it can reach temps of over 100 rapidly. In a short period, this can cause heat stroke or organ failure.
- Provide the Basics! Be sure to never keep your pet outside for prolonged periods of time in the heat. If you do have to bring your pet out, always be sure to provide ample shade and water. Enclosed environments such as dog houses can trap heat, so be sure to have good air flow.
- Sea Water is Dangerous! As mentioned above, hydration is essential for your dog. Just like humans, however, seawater will make your dog very sick. Be sure to keep an eye on them as they play in the ocean and also wash them after as salt and other sea minerals can damage dog’s coats.
- Check Local Beaches! Make sure to check if your beach or lake is pet-friendly and what their leash laws are.
- Travel Ready! Many airports have strict requirements on traveling with pets, be sure to check before you fly.
- Outdoor Living Laws! Many states and cities have various ordinances on tethering animals outside. This prevents many animals from being exposed to dangerous heat and conditions. Last year Hall County passed an anti-tethering law with a six month grace period which ended in April. If you see an animal being tethered outside within the Hall County limits please call Hall County Animal Services at 770-531-6830 to report it.
By following laws, taking necessary safety precautions, preventing pests and being wary of heat based illnesses, you can keep your pet healthy to enjoy all the summer has to offer!
If you’re still looking for low-cost flea, tick and heartworm prevention the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia’s Healthy Pet Clinic offers low-cost services and flea/tick preventative that costs less than the majority of online pharmacies. HSNEGA’s Healthy Pet Clinic is open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30 am-4:30 pm, or you can visit HSNEGA.org/wellness-clinic for more information.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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