AUSTIN (KXAN) - It looks like another extremely hot summer is in store for Central Texas. Our KXAN mascot, Kaxan, wants to remind all humans that extra care needs to be taken to insure your dog – and your travels – remain fun and safe during these hot months.
Some general pet-health tips to follow:
First and foremost, never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the window cracked, or even for a few minutes. It only takes minutes for the temperature to rise to deadly levels. Also,
- Make sure your dog's vaccinations are up to date, especially since dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
- Keep your dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers.
- Keep your dog clean and well groomed.
- Fleas and ticks – as well as the mosquitoes that carry heartworm disease – are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventative-medicine prescription to keep these parasites away.
If you're headed to the beach this summer and want to bring your dog along:
- Make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water.
- Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog's exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
- Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish.
- Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so be sure that your dog is fit for any activities you have planned.
- Do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make him sick.
- Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog's coat, so rinse him off at the end of the day.
- Not all beaches permit dogs; check local ordinances before heading out.
If you're headed on any trips this summer – by plane or car – and plan to take your dog:
- Keep in mind many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Before you book your tickets, be sure to check with your airlines for specific rules.
- If you do ship a dog, put icepacks or an ice blanket in the dog's crate. Two-liter soft drink bottles filled with frozen water work well. Provide a container of fresh water, as well as a container of frozen water that will thaw over the course of the trip.
- Keep your dog cool in the car by putting icepacks in his crate and making sure the crate is well ventilated.
- Put a sunshade on your car windows to help block the suns rays form beaming into the backseat and beating down on your dog.
- Bring along fresh water and a bowl as well as a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. Keep a spray bottle filled with water to spritz on your dog to cool him down.
- A dog's safety should not depend on the air conditioning and generator systems in an RV or motor home. These devices can malfunction, with tragic results. Never leave an RV or motor home completely shut up, even if the generator and AC are running. Crack a window, door or run the exhaust fan just to be safe.
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