Pets are family members, and like all other family members, they deserve to be cared for and protected. Knowing what is normal for your pet and understanding its needs are vital for keeping your pet safe and healthy and understanding when something may be wrong. Since most pets are unable to fully take care of themselves, it is up to us to take responsibility for them and act in their best interest; this includes protecting them from extreme weather and decreasing their risk of being lost or stolen.
Hot Weather Tips
- Hot cars: it is important to never leave your dog in a car during the warmer months. The temperature in your car can increase exponentially even in a short amount of time, even with the windows cracked open, and this increased temperature can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or even death. It's best to leave pets at home while running errands during warm days
- Hot Pavement: Unlike people, pets don’t always have the option to dress appropriately for the weather; this includes shoes. Warmer temperatures increase the likelihood that the pads of your pet’s feet may suffer burns. A quick walk in the shade might be tolerable during the summer, but long adventures on pavement or blacktop could mean painful and costly injuries.
- Heatstroke: even being outside for extended periods of time can cause your pet’s temperature to become dangerously high; much like in humans, heatstroke in pets can lead to brain damage, organ failure, and even death. To avoid heatstroke, keep your pet indoors during extreme heat. If pets have to be outdoors during hot days, make sure they have plenty of access to shade and cool water even while on walks. If you notice any heavy panting, loss of energy, weakness or stumbling take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
Cold Weather Tips
- Keep pets sheltered: During the cold months, it is best to keep indoor pets indoors and provide them plenty of warmth. If a pet must be outdoors for an extended period during the colder months, then they still must have access to shelter that allows them the ability to move around while also keeping heat.
- Clothing: many pets, such as a short-haired dog may benefit from clothing such as specially made sweaters. These clothes help keep body temperatures at appropriate levels and may help protected fur and skin from deicer and other roadway chemicals.
Keeping your pet safe also means knowing where they are and having a plan to get them home if they are ever to escape. When pets escape their danger of being hurt by a car, another dog, or even another person increases dramatically, and you may be liable for any damages they cause or any city fees to impound them. It is important to figure out how your pet is escaping and then work to increase their activity and stimulation to make escaping and roaming less attractive. To prevent pets, especially dogs, from escaping the following tips may be helpful:
- Walk your dog daily
- Teach your dog to fetch a ball or Frisbee
- Teach your dog commands and tricks
- Provide interesting toys
- Rotate your dog’s toys
- Take obedience classes
- Keep your dog inside when you’re unable to supervise them
- If you must be away for extended periods of time consider taking your dog to work or to a doggy daycare