Tips to keep your pets safe in summer weather

Published 4:51 pm Friday, May 30, 2014

As the summer season approaches with temperatures quickly rising, the Chilton County Humane Society offers several tips for keeping pets hydrated and safe.

“Warm temperatures during the summer can often cause pets to dehydrate quickly and easily,” Chilton County Humane Society Director Jessica Terry said. “The most important thing people need to remember is to never leave an animal inside a car that has been turned off and has no air conditioning running. It can cause a heat stroke for the animal because the temperature in the car gets hotter inside than it is outside.”

Terry said pets that have been left unattended in unventilated areas are one of the most common problems the shelter sees during the summer months.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of animals brought in to the shelter from people who have them shut up in their trunk,” Terry said. “With the way the temperatures get in Alabama, no animal should ever be put in someone’s trunk where there is no ventilation. You have to think that if you wouldn’t want to sit in a place without any air, then neither would the animal.”

Terry said several animals have been brought to the shelter after being found unattended in parked cars at stores such as Walmart.

“A lot of people will take their pets with them to places like a store and will go inside and shop and leave the animal outside where they can’t get any air,” Terry said. “It is very dangerous and an animal should never be left unattended without a way to get air. A lot of animals have a thick fur coat so leaving them in an area where they can’t get air causes them to become overheated very quickly.”

For animals who spend days outside, Terry recommends making sure the animals have plenty of water and shade to stay cool.

Bubby, a Walker Hound mix, is available for adoption at the Chilton County Humane Society.

Bubby, a Walker Hound mix, is available for adoption at the Chilton County Humane Society. Bubby enjoyed an afternoon outside on Friday as temperatures continued to rise. The Chilton County Humane Society offered several tips for keeping pets hydrated and safe.

“If you are going to leave your pet outside during the summer for any period of time, they need to have lots of water,” Terry said. “In some cases, we have seen people purchase the small plastic pools you can purchase for a few dollars and fill that up with water so the animals can go and cool off throughout the day. People wouldn’t want to be left outside without any water or shade so neither would an animal.”

Terry said if a pet has to stay outside in warm temperatures, the pets will often seek shade but could become overheated quickly.

“If a pet, especially a dog doesn’t have enough water, they will start panting and it can cause a heat stroke,” Terry said. “Just be mindful of how much water your pets have before you leave them outside for long periods of time. A lot of days during the summer the temperatures get really warm here so make sure the pets have a way to stay cool.”

Terry also recommends any dogs with long hair getting a “shave-down” for the summer.

“Here in Chilton County, there are a lot of people who own dogs such as Great Pyrenees who have a lot of hair,” Terry said. “Dogs like that really need to have their hair shaved down for the summer, and it will grow back in time for the winter.”

During the summer months, Terry also recommends getting pets vaccinated for rabies.

In 2013, multiple confirmed rabies cases were found throughout parts of Chilton County after raccoons were found with the rabies virus.

“It is important to have your pets vaccinated even if they are an indoor pet because you never know what can happen,” Terry said.

Although the Chilton County Humane Society does not vaccinate animals against rabies, Terry suggested calling a veterinarian for the vaccines.

“Summer can be a tough time for animals because of the warm temperatures so people just need to be mindful of adequately taking care of them,” Terry said.