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Dog days of summer perilous for pets

Animal Tracks Kathi Travers With summer a week away now it's time to be reminded of how to keep our pets safe and happy and healthy during the hot days. Our local BC SPCA shelter and staff are on the ball, protecting our pets in summer weather.

Animal Tracks

Kathi Travers

With summer a week away now it's time to be reminded of how to keep our pets safe and happy and healthy during the hot days.

Our local BC SPCA shelter and staff are on the ball, protecting our pets in summer weather. If they see that your pet is in distress, they do have the duty and authority to forcibly enter the vehicle and remove the animal. They have become high tech, with a remote sensing device which enables the special constables of the BC SPCA to determine the temperature surrounding an animal from outside the vehicle.

In other words, when the shelter gets a complaint about a pet locked in a car in hot weather, the constable can get an accurate temperature record using the laser. So, the guesswork is taken out of the equation. If the temperature around the pet is too hot, the record will provide objective evidence in cases which end up in court. There can be a fine of as much as $2,000 or up to six months in jail under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Also a word of caution to those who leave their dogs tied up in the back of pickup trucks. The BC SPCA will also be watching your pets to make sure they are not overheated either. So you could be slapped with a motor vehicle infringement as well as a cruelty charge. It is against the law to transport a pet unsecured in an open pickup truck. Our fantastic RCMP has now begun enforcing this law and tickets have been and continue to be issued. So make room in your cab for your best friend or put a secured crate in the back of your truck.

Please realize that heat can kill an animal within a matter of a few minutes! So, even if you are just going to the corner store for a litre of milk, leave your trusted pal home when it is hot. Cars become a furnace even with open windows. The most common cause of heat stroke in dogs is from leaving a pet in a car on a hot day.

If your pet spends lots of time outside, make sure that you provide it with an area where it can get out of the sun or the rain should we get a sudden shower. Also make sure you provide access to fresh water at all times.

Pets can get sunburned. Use a children's type sun screen on fleshy parts of your pet's face, such as its nose. Dogs with white faces and close hair also need it. Make sure you keep its coat well brushed during the summer. Do not shave the hair too closely since it reduces its sun protection. Be aware that dogs with black coats absorb more rays from the sun; therefore they get hot much faster than a lighter coloured dog.

Exercise is very important. Carefully monitor dogs that are brachycephalic, or snub noses like Boxers, Pekingese, and Bull dogs, or pets with lung or heart problems. Schedule exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cooler.

Some pets enjoy water, so provide a sprinkler or a child-sized wading pool for those very hot days. Rather than an air conditioner we keep a fan running in one of our rooms so that Max and Holly can chill out whenever they choose.

Please do not even think of dragging a dog behind you in the hot sun while you ride your bike. Pets will try pleasing you at their expense by attempting to keep up with you no matter what. So be aware.

When choosing where to walk, don't forget that pets are barefoot and pavement gets very hot! If you can't stand it with your feet, don't expect your pet to. When you get home, check their pads for cuts or abrasions.

No matter where you are going with your pet, always tote along some fresh water. We take a plastic covered bowl with some ice cubes and water if we take the pups anywhere.

If you notice excessive panting, the animal getting weak and unresponsive, beginning to falter, fainting, or losing consciousness, get the pet cooled off as soon as possible. Wet the pet with cool, not cold, compresses and go to your veterinarian immediately. Do not offer ice cold water as it could subject your pet to shock. Your fast response can save your pets life!

If you have a cat that is interested in going outside, put the cat in a harness and leash. It's the safest way for your pet to enjoy the outside. If you see a pet that you think is in distress call the BC SPCA at 562-5511 to report it.

Have a safe and happy summer with your pet!

On another note: The ice cream stand at Coward Road is pet friendly. They have water bowls filled with fresh water all the time. Starbucks at College Heights, Pine Centre and both on Central also have water bowls for dogs. With so many folks having dogs more and more places are welcoming them.

Jo and I and the dogs had a little holiday in Tofino which is a very pet-friendly destination. When we took the ferry I opted to stay in the car with the dogs. We stayed at a delightful cottage at Chesterman's Beach. Max had a fit that we forced him to walk the beach. The bath following the ordeal really upset him. We had to bathe him as he was full of sand. Holly loved it. We then went to Victoria for several days. We stayed at the Marriot which is also very pet friendly. Next to Fisherman's Wharf is a lovely big pet-friendly park. Max loved lying in the middle of the grass. He then started to forgive us for the beach and bath episodes. The Wharf was also very welcoming to dogs. It was a great trip but Max is very happy to be home. Holly is happy no matter where or what she is doing as long as she is with us. We are blessed.

Write me at tracks@jokat.ca and let's talk animals.