Special Care in Winter and Summer

Winter

Always tightly close antifreeze or windshield washer fluid containers, and immediately wipe up any spills. These are poisonous and can kill your pet.

In cold winter temperatures, even animals which normally stay outside all the time or some of the time should be brought inside during the night and coldest part of the day, or until the temperature rises to a safe level. Animals which stay outside in cold weather MUST have adequate shelter. If this is a type of dog house, it should be tight enough to keep moisture out, raised off the ground if possible to keep it dry, and insulated. Insulation could be old blankets, etc. You can put a piece of tarpaulin over it as well. The dog house should face away from the North wind.

DON'T isolate animals outside in very cold weather. Even if they have a good heavy coat and are somewhat accustomed to the cold, very cold temperatures can injure them or endanger their lives. Ask your veterinarian what temperatures are dangerous. Announcements are usually made on TV weather programs as well.

Remember that animals are subject to hypothermia (losing body heat) and frostbite just like humans are. They can also dehydrate if they have no water because it is frozen. They need adequate food to keep their metabolism burning and stay warm.

If you park your car where cats have access to it in cold weather, always bang on the hood several times before starting the engine to make sure no cat has crawled up inside the engine compartment for shelter. Many cats are injured or killed this way.

Summer

Animals can suffer in summer heat when the temperature gets higher. If you are too hot, they are as well. They are walking around with a fur coat on, and they can't sweat like you can.

Animals which stay outdoors MUST have adequate shade and water available at all times.They are subject to hyperthermia (overheating) and stroke just like humans are. If your area experiences extreme heat, keep an eye on your outdoor pet and bring it inside during heatwaves.

NEVER, EVER leave your pet inside a car when the temperature is over 55 degrees! Not even for just five minutes! The temperature inside the car rises astronomically very quickly and can kill an animal just as quickly by suffocation and heatstroke.Try it yourself! Sit inside your car when the temperature is even only moderately warm and see how fast it heats up and you find it hard to breathe. Try it on a hot summer day, and you won't last two or three minutes before you open the door. LEAVE THE PET AT HOME! This is the only responsible thing to do.

Sorry to yell at you, but this is so very important, and so many people think, "Well, I love for poochie to go with me, and it's ONLY for two or three minutes." Then you get stuck inside a store or someone's house, and the poor pet suffers and maybe even dies. Don't do it, please.

What to do if you see an animal in a car in hot weather with the windows up and the owner is gone? If you see them leaving, you can stop them and express concern (they won't like it). If the owner is already gone, you can stay and watch to see if they come back pretty soon. If they are gone long enough that the animal is obviously in serious trouble, you wouldn't have time to search an entire mall. You can call 9-1-1 and hope the police show up quickly. What if they don't?

Here's an ethical question for you: Say a pet owner leaves an animal in a car, does not come back soon and you have no idea where he/she is, the animal is obviously in distress from the heat and it's getting worse, you call 9-1-1 and the police don't show up quickly. Consider whether you would try to open the door or break the window. Even though the person could be prosecuted for animal cruelty if the animal dies, you could still be risking arrest, being prosecuted for breaking and entering the car and pay damages. You have to decide for yourself--a tough call. In any event, the penalty for owners who lock animals (and children) in cars when it is hot should be very serious..


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