Animal Writes
6 Jun 1999 Issue

Seasonal Warnings

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) urges pet owners to be
prepared because June 1st marks the first day of hurricane season. We also
want to bring you a few tips about helping your pet survive the heat of summer.

The HSUS offers the following tips for pet owners to include in a pet
disaster plan:

* Do not leave your pets behind.

* Securely fasten a current identification tag to your pet's collar and carry a
photograph of your pet. It's important to include the phone number of a friend or
family member on the tag so anyone who may find your pet is able to reach
someone who knows you.

* Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes or harnesses.

* Call hotels in a safe location and ask if you can bring your pets. Ask the
manager if a no-pet policy can be lifted during the disaster. Most emergency
shelters do not admit pets.

* Call friends, family members, veterinarians or boarding kennels in a safe
location to arrange foster care if you and your pets cannot stay together.

* Pack a week's supply of food, water and other provisions, such as medication
or cat litter.

* Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. Rescue officials may not allow
you to take your pets if you need to be rescued.

* Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (veterinarian, local animal control,
animal shelters, Red Cross, etc.).

For safety from the summer heat, we offer the following tips:

* Pets do not sweat to keep cool as humans do. Therefore it is a must to
provide shade throughout the day. Installing a fan or mister on a shaded porch
can prevent heatstroke in companion animals. As your pet ages, he may have
less tolerance for heat. And of course, pets inside air conditioned houses are
the safest.

* Fresh water should be constantly available. Beware of the shift of the sun --
what is in the shade before you go to work, may not be in the shade during the
hot afternoon. A child's wading pool filled with fresh water daily can be a great
place to cool hot paws.

* When it's 78 degrees in the shade, a closed car can rise to 90 degrees in 5
minutes in direct sunlight. A dog left in a car, even with the windows open, can
die of heatstroke, in a matter of minutes. Even if the dog lives, brain damage is
probable. Ten thousand dogs and cats die in parked cars every year. Even in
relatively mild weather, with the windows partially rolled down, the inside
temperature of a car can reach 120 degrees within 20 - 30 minutes. Leave your
pets home in hot weather or have someone wait with them in the car with the air
conditioner running. If you see a pet in distress in a car, call authorities

* Your dog may stay with you out of loyalty when you are sun bathing and get
heatstroke. Be sure to provide shade. Be especially aware of dogs chained
in yards. The chain may wrap around something that keeps the dog stuck out
in the sun. If the dog tips the water bowl over, will he be without water all day?

* Exercise your pet in the early morning or evening hours when the temperature
is lower. Start a pet's exercise program gradually and make sure they are in
good health before starting the program.

* When traveling from one part of the country to another -- take into account
the temperature changes.

* Many pets drown each year in backyard swimming pools. Be especially
watchful of young kittens and puppies around the pool. Teach your dog how to
get out of your pool by placing the dog in the pool with you and gently guiding it
to the steps. Do this over and over until the dog can find its way out of the pool
without your help. Review this lesson every summer. You can do this with cats
too. Don't assume your pet knows how to swim. If you take your pet to the
lake or out on a boat, consider getting it a pet life vest. These vests are available
in multiple sizes and can save your pet's life.

* Heatstroke signs are rapid breathing, staring expression, high pulse rate, and
high body temperature. A dog may pant incessantly, chomp on saliva until it
forms bubbles, eyes may glaze, staggering, weakness and collapse. There
may be vomiting and excessive activity. Move dog to cooler place and apply ice
packs to head and neck area, hose with cool water, or immerse in water, wrap
in wet towels -- anything to bring down the temperature as quickly as possible.
Massaging legs to get blood flowing can also help. If a thermometer is available,
take temperature every 5 minutes. Your goal is to bring the dog's temperature
down to 103 degrees. By checking temperature frequently, you can avoid
letting temperature drop too low, which can happen quickly. Take the animal
to the vet promptly for further treatment.

Email: [email protected]

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