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As temperatures rise, you need to take extra precautions to keep your furry friends safe! Here are a few tips to get you and your pet through the spring and summer:

Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Every year, dogs overheat after being locked inside cars while their owners shop or run errands. It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside a car to soar over 100 degrees, even with the windows down. Pets left in hot cars, even briefly, can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, or death. If you see an animal that’s been left in a vehicle, report it to the store’s manager immediately. If the owner of the vehicle cannot be reached, dial your county animal control or the local police department. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Humane Society is not able to respond to such situations, although we can provide you with the appropriate animal control phone number.

Don’t put your pet in the back of your truck. In many areas, it’s illegal to have your dog loose in the bed of a truck. It’s also extremely unsafe. Dogs can jump out or be unintentionally thrown from the bed when you slam on brakes, swerve, or collide with another vehicle. Dogs should ride either in the cab (in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed for dogs) or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck. But remember… crates get hot too!

Hydration is key. Make sure your pet always has fresh, cool water to drink. If your pet must be outdoors for any period of time, make sure he has a shady place to escape the sun. Be careful not to over-exercise him, and keep him indoors when at all possible.

Beware of the asphalt. Asphalt gets extremely hot on warm days and releases heat slowly, so it stays hot even after sunset. Avoid walking dogs on the blacktop if possible. Not only can it burn sensitive paw pads, but the dog’s body can heat up quickly since he’s low to the ground.

Do not leave pets unsupervised around water. Not all pets are good swimmers! Make sure your pet wears a flotation device when on a boat, and rinse him off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur.

Keep all unscreened windows and doors closed. Make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured and never let your pet near a window without a screen. Pets can easily fall out of windows and off of balconies. Please take necessary precautions!!

Know the warning signs of heatstroke. Lethargy, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, a lurching gait, glazed eyes, vomiting, bright red gums and tongue, and increased salivation are all symptoms. If you see signs of heatstroke, soak him with cool (not cold) water and seek veterinary care immediately!

August 18, 2015

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