Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dog Care in the Hot Summer

Ana Banana gives advice on dog care (c) Benepe
Most dog owners know they should not be leaving their pets in the car with closed windows. But even if you have a window opened by a crack, it's usually not enough.

Yesterday Mommy and I sat in a car in the sun, with all the windows wide open. It was too hot for me, and too hot for her too. She had to open the doors too. Even then it was too hot, and it was only 85 degrees outside!

If you put a nice, sweet dog like me in a car, it's usually going to be too hot once it's over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So the best thing to do is take me out of the car.

If you must leave me in the car, ALL the windows must be more than half open and the car MUST be parked completely in the shade. Otherwise I can die within about 30 minutes. You should also leave me water in the car.

What happens if you see someone else's dog in the car parked and looking like they won't make it? Here are some tips from the ASPCA:

Step 1: Try to Locate the Pet Parent 
Step 2: Educate: let the parents know that it is dangerous to leave a pet in the car, and make sure the pet is taken out of the car.
Step 3: Call 911: Fourteen states have enacted specific laws that protect dogs in hot cars, as have many municipalities—but even in places lacking such a law, leaving an animal in a hot car may constitute cruelty. Call 911 and you can have the dog removed from the car legally without the owner's permission.
Step 4: Pat Yourself on the Back: Pets are counting on people like you to save their lives. 

Sometimes owners wonder whether they can leave their dogs at home. Most homes are okay in the summer. Best thing to do is close the windows early in the morning to keep in the cool evening air. Left with windows closed and shades drawn, most houses and apartments will stay cool.

If however you live in a very hot climate, you might want to leave your air conditioner on an automatic, energy saving setting, at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do not EVER leave your dog outside in the hot sun all day, especially if there is no greenery and no shade, nor access to water. Dogs and other pets must always be left with plenty of water inside and outside.

Also do not leave a dog tied up outside on a hot day: you never know when they might be exposed to the sun, and if they are unable to take shelter, could die very quickly.

Remember, dogs have a naturally higher body temperature than humans at about 101 degrees (versus our 96 degrees). So they will get too hot much more quickly, and can also die very quickly.

Finally, what to do to cool a dog off? If your dog is hanging about in the yard, do not THROW them into a pool or other water source: let them come in of their own accord. Dogs who are forced to enter the water do no like it, contrary to some owners' misconceptions.

Rather, they prefer to enter the water of their own accord, and will either just wet themselves, or will jump in of their own accord. Dogs who are not prepared to be in the water can drown because they will take too much water into their noses and mouths.

It is also cruel to throw a dog in the water. The smaller the dog, the less comfortable they will feel in the water. Some dog breeds are also bred to swim, while others are not. Be kind to your pet and don't force them to do anything they don't volunteer to do when it comes to water.

If they are very hot and need to cool off but won't enter the water, take a wet towel and wrap it around their stomach. You can also sprinkle them lightly, or gently hose them down, while avoiding their eyes and nose.

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