The unofficial start of summer is here. We’ve enjoyed Memorial Day and, for most kids, the end of school. So that means pools are open and vacations are beginning.
And for Middle Georgia, it means it’s already hot as blazes. While a hot summer might be fun if you’re at the beach or sitting beside the pool with plenty of cool water and sunscreen, it can mean disaster if you’re an animal. Can you imagine being in this Southern heat wearing a fur coat?
Now is the time to take extra measures to keep your pets from suffering serious heat-related issues. The heat can be deadly.
If there’s any way you can keep your pets inside, please do. Many of my friends have numerous pets and large pets, so bringing them inside is not always an option. But there are things that can be done to try to minimize the effect of heat on your pets.
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First, make sure they have plenty of shade all day long. Just because they’re in a shady spot in the morning doesn’t mean the same spot will be shady at 3 in the afternoon.
And make sure the surface they’re standing on is cool. Asphalt can quickly burn the pads of their feet.
Next, provide plenty of cool, fresh water several times a day, every day. It would be great if you can devise a way for them to have access to constantly running cool water. Make sure they can reach the water and secure the water bowl so it can’t be overturned.
Frequently check the temperature of the water, too. If it’s too hot, we won’t drink it!
Please don’t give them ice water, though, because it might cause a problem for some pets. Some folks put a gallon jug of frozen water in a tub or wading pool to help keep the temperature even.
Having access to a water mister would make pets happy, too. It sure works for the vegetables at the grocery store!
Now let’s talk about parked cars. Please, NEVER leave your pet in a parked car.
You’d think some things are just so obvious they’re not necessary to discuss, but apparently that’s not the case. Every summer I get reports of dogs left in parked cars while their parents ran in the store to “just pick up one thing.”
It’s way too easy to get distracted in the store or see someone you know and lose track of time. Before you know it, too much time has passed and a tragedy has occurred in the car.
A parked car in the Middle Georgia heat can turn into an oven in only a matter of minutes. A pet left in the car even with the windows cracked can die in a very short time.
If you see a dog locked in a parked car, take action immediately. This is no time to be shy. Get the tag number of the car, run in the store and find the store manager. Ask him to make an announcement requesting the owner to come forward.
If the owner doesn’t appear within 2 or 3 minutes, call 911 and explain the emergency. Please stay with the car monitoring the pet as you wait for the sheriff to arrive. My experience has been the sheriff’s office is very responsive to pet distress situations and takes them very seriously.
Please leave your pets safely at home and not in the car during the summer. Don’t jeopardize the life of your pet by leaving them in a parked car.
We’ll chat about more steps you can take to keep your pets protected from this deadly heat in future columns. In the meantime, please make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your pets safe during the Georgia summer.
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