Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ASPCA® Offers Tips to Help Pets Stay Cool

During Hot Summer Months

As the summer sun begins to heat things up, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) reminds pet parents how to keep their furry friends cool, safe and happy.

“Summertime is a wonderful time for family and friends to get together and enjoy themselves, often with a beloved pet by their side,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President of Animal Health Services for the ASPCA.“However, it’s important to consider the hidden, and sometimes, not-so-hidden dangers, that can harm our furry companions.”

Here are just a few ways animal lovers can keep their pets safe this summer:

  • Make Sure the Food is Friendly. Summertime is the perfect time for a backyard barbeque or party, but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. “Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas,,” says Dr. Hansen. “Similarly, remember that the snacks you serve your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with xylitol as a sweetner”

  • Pets Have it Made in the Shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give your pets plenty of water when it’s hot outdoors. Also, make sure your pet has a shady place to get out of the sun, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot. “Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. “On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heat stroke can develop, which is often fatal.”

  • A Pest-Free Pet is a Happy Pet. Commonly-used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. While there are flea products that can be used safely on dogs and cats, products labeled as “dog only” containing permethrin can be deadly to cats.. Be sure to read directions on these products carefully.

  • Water safety is Pet-Friendly. Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure pets wear flotation devices while on boats. Try not to let your dog drink pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

  • Look Out for “High Rise Syndrome.” “During warmer months, The ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of ‘High-Rise Syndrome,’ which occurs when pets fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured,” says Dr. Murray. “Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions.” Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

  • Be Aware of Heated Situations. When taking your dog outdoors or in the company of other animals, always keep a watchful eye on those around you. Summer is a wonderful time to engage in outdoor activities with your pet, but with more people and their dogs enjoying the warmer weather, tempers may flare over territory, so it’s equally important to make sure your dog is safe and secure around strangers and other animals.

· Fireworks Aren’t Very Petriotic. Never use fireworks around pets. Says Dr. Hansen, “While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals.”

Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of the reach of pets as well. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression, and if inhaled, the oils could potentially cause aspiration pneumonia.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies) or, or take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. For more information on having a fun, safe summer with your pet, please visit

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters in North America. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York’s animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series “Animal Precinct” on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit

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