HEAR YE HEAR YE! Gather ‘round to hear my important DO’S AND DON’T’S to protect my 4-legged furry relatives during the warmest months. This should be “old news” but I whimper knowing that many pet parents aren’t informed or forget about these simple but critical guidelines to follow. This applies even in coastal areas where the ground and car interiors reach temperatures 20° and more above the air temperature. Please do these, and BARK them to other pet owners by posting or forwarding this cautionary ‘tail’.
1. SUNBURN - Did you know that dogs and cats can get sunburned, especially those with short hair on their ears and nose? If you cannot keep your pets indoors and out of the sun, make sure they have plenty of fixed shade, good air circulation and lots of fresh water.
2. CARSICK - Do NOT leave my furry friends (dog or cat) in the car!! A parked car can get to over 150 degrees inside and will heat up so fast that it can cause brain damage, or death, within minutes. Leave your pet at home or in a car with the A/C left on during travel when it is above 79 degrees outside.
3. “WALK THIS WAY” (Aerosmith) – Please walk us early in the morning or in the late evening. In the desert and many inland climates this might be by 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Regardless of the time of day, we can get dehydrated easily, so bring plenty of water and make it an easy walk, not a challenging hike. NEVER exercise us by having us run alongside your bicycle in the summer! I know about a dog who died of a stroke chasing his owner’s bike in the desert heat. You don’t want that on your conscience!
4. PAWSITIVELY PROTECT OUR PAWS! - They can burn from being walked on scorching hot concrete, asphalt or even pavers. My owner, Ev Levin, ‘rescued’ Oscar, a cutie Shih Tzu, from such a fate just a week ago when she observed the little fella trying to keep his paws off the street but of course couldn’t because his unconscious owner wasn’t paying attention as he was dragged along at a festival. Ev, taking a risk that the owner might get angry, approached him and politely informed him that Oscar’s feet were burning. The good news is that he promptly picked up Oscar and thanked her. He was surprised to learn that, while the air temperature was no more than 80, the asphalt was probably 100+, confirmed by briefly putting his hand on the asphalt. And then he walked across the street to Ev's Mattey's Mutts of Palm Spring booth at the street festival and outfitted his pooch with one of my cool easy-lift handle pet vests so he could pick up Oscar and put him down any time!
If it’s too hot for you to go barefoot it’s too hot for your pooch and kitty too. Use the vets’ “7-second rule” – place the back of your hand on the ground – if you can’t keep it there for 7 seconds without a struggle, it’s too hot for your love bundle too. It's something not every pet parent may think of at first until their dog's paws get burned from walking on hot surfaces. Walking us on natural grass is way better (artificial turf can also get very hot)!
5. MUSH! ISAY! - To protect our paws from the hot (or cold in the wintertime) ground, try applying Musher’s Secret or similar products before we go outside. It’s a waterproof balm that creates a barrier between our paws and the ground and is non-toxic if licked. You can also buy me booties!
6. TIMING IS EVERYTHING - If you suspect any kind of heatstroke in your pets, immediately call an Animal Hospital or Veterinarian. Our symptoms can include panting, dehydration, body temperature over 103 degrees, reddened gums/moist body tissues, little or no urine, sudden kidney failure, rapid heartbeat, wobbly gait, changes in mental status, and many others too long to list here.
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Love and Licks, Mattey