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Independence Day and heat safety tips for pet owners

Posted at 10:33 PM, Jul 01, 2019

Summer is a time for fun in the sun, but it also be hazardous . It’s important to make sure we protect our four-legged family members from these potential dangers.

Heat Safety Tips:

On a 77 degree day, asphalt in direct sunlight can heat up to 125 degrees! While shoes can protect human feet from the scorching heat, pet's feet aren’t so lucky. The tissue that covers pet’s paw pads isn't covered in fur and is vulnerable to extremely hot surfaces.

So when walking, avoid hot surfaces and stick to short walks on sidewalk/light colored concrete or only on grass. Take walks in the early morning or evening when the time of day is cooler.

Never leave your dog in the car. Not only is this illegal in Maryland, but it might lead to a pet dying from deadly car temperatures. Prevent putting yourself in this position by only bringing your dog along for car trips only if your destination is pet-friendly.

Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water. Bring a water bottle on trips to the park, on walks, or anytime you go outside with your pet. Also, take frequent breaks in the shade when outside for walks or play time.

Summer months are peak season for parasites like fleas and ticks. Comb through your pets fur after sessions outside to check for pests. Ask your veterinarian about the best products are best for protecting your pet.

Dogs with longer coats sometimes need a clipping or shaving to help them stay cool, and pets with thin coats also need sunscreen.

Look out for these signs of heat stress and seek emergency veterinary care if your pet has them:

  • Anxiousness
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unsteadiness
  • Abnormal gum and tongue color
  • Collapse

Fireworks Tips:

The Fourth of July is a day filled with traditions like cookouts and fireworks, but it's also the day with the highest amount of lost pets, according to the Missing Pet Partnership. When you travel to the parks and venues for fireworks this year, leave the pets at home. Fireworks can easily startle them and trigger their "flight" or fear response.

Instead create a "safe spot" in your home for your pet to stay in and keep them inside if neighbors are setting off fireworks. It should be secure with no easy access to the outside. During the fireworks, keep your pets busy with a variety of toys and treats. Exercise them throughout the day so they have no pent up energy.

Another option for pets that are historically anxious on this holiday, is behavioral therapy. Some pets may even need medication. After the show, check your yard for fireworks debris. This will prevent your pet from playing in the debris or eating it.

Runaway pet tips:

All pets should have identification tags with up-to-date information. It never hurts to have multiple forms of identification for your pet.

Micro-chips are an excellent form of identification. Baltimore Humane Society’s Low Cost Veterinary Wellness Center will chip your pet for only $25. Once micro-chipped, be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date in the micro-chip registry.

A collar with an identification tag is also a good option. Make sure the tag includes the pet’s name and the best way to contact you.

Do not chase after a runaway pet. Running after them will trigger a "flight" response and cause them to run even further. Grab their attention by turning around and walking away like you want them to chase you, or sit or lay down flat on the ground.

If you find your pet has run away from home, immediately notify the micro-chip company. Canvas the neighborhood and contact area veterinarians, shelters, and animal control facilities to report your pet missing. Give them fliers with a recent picture, identifying features, and contact information. Be sure to post it on Facebook and other social media.