Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter

Help "Fido" Beat the Summer Heat

Beating the summer heat is not only important for humans, but is also critical to ensure our furry friends stay happy and healthy. A combination of the weather, increased time spent outside and water activities creates many opportunities for pet emergencies to occur during the summer months.

The American Red Cross urges you to follow these summer safety tips for pet owners:

Take an American Red Cross Pet First Aid class. Many Red Cross chapters across the country offer classes with hands-on training in Pet First Aid procedures. These classes give pet owners the confidence and skills necessary to tend to unexpected emergencies until they can get their pet to a veterinarian.

Order a Dog First Aid Manual or Cat First Aid Manual. The manuals will help you:

  • Administer medications
  • Recognize an emergency
  • Perform CPR and first aid
  • Treat common problems and emergencies requiring immediate attention
  • Stock a pet first aid kit

The manuals come with a 30-minute DVD that features step-by-step instructions on safety procedures, disaster preparedness and dealing with medical emergencies.

Include your pet in your disaster plan.

The Red Cross offers a Pet and Disaster Safety Checklist. It includes pet evacuation information, how to assemble a portable kit with supplies for your pet and how to cope with the needs of your pet after a disaster.

The following tips are provided by The Humane Society of the United States:

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

In nice weather you may be tempted to take your pet with you in the car while you travel or do errands. But during warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even if you're parked in the shade. This can mean real trouble for your companion animals left in the car.

To avoid any chance that your pet will succumb to the heat of a car this summer, be sure to play it safe by leaving your pet cool and refreshed at home while you're on the road. And if you do happen to see a pet alone in a car during the hot summer months, alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police department immediately.

Don't Put Your Pet in the Back of a Truck

It is very dangerous, and in some states illegal, to drive with a dog in the back of a pick-up truck. Not only can flying debris cause serious injury, but a dog may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves or is hit by another car. Dogs should ride either in the cab (in a crate or wearing a seat belt harness designed for dogs) or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck.

Watch Out For Fertilizers and Deadly Plants

Summer is often a time when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens. But beware: plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals.

Stay Bite-Free

With people and dogs spending more time outside, dog bites are likely to increase in the summer months. Spaying or neutering your dog reduces the likelihood that he will bite and provides many other health benefits.

Pet Care 101

Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your pet, an ID tag may very well be his or her ticket home.

Check with your veterinarian to see if your pets should be taking heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be fatal in both dogs and cats. Another summertime threat is fleas and ticks. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.

Water Wisdom

Pets and pools can equal disaster. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise a pet in a pool. Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets while they're enjoying the great outdoors so they can stay cool.

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