Top tips to take care of your pets over sum­mer

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With the­warmer weather upon us, SPCA wants to re­mind an­i­mal own­ers to be vig­i­lant in the care of their pets over the sum­mer.

In the sum­mer months, SPCA sees an in­crease in the vol­ume of com­plaints re­lat­ing to an­i­mals with­out shade, an­i­mals lack­ing fresh wa­ter, and dogs left in hot cars.

“All of these wel­fare calls can be avoided by own­ers putting pro­vi­sions in place and plan­ning ahead for their furry fam­ily mem­bers,” says SPCA CEO An­drea Mid­gen.

Dog own­ers should also be aware that with the in­tro­duc­tion of MPI’s new An­i­mal Wel­fare reg­u­la­tions on Oc­to­ber 1, they can now be fined $300 for leav­ing their dog in a hot car.

“Dogs left in cars is a com­mon wel­fare is­sue SPCA responds to over the sum­mer. The in­te­rior of a car can heat up very quickly on a sunny day. Leav­ing the win­dows slightly open has very lit­tle ef­fect. This sit­u­a­tion can be ex­tremely dan­ger­ous— even fa­tal— for dogs and is en­tirely pre­ventable.

“It is our hope that own­ers will be mind­ful of the new reg­u­la­tion and the risk to their dogs— and think twice about leav­ing their dog in a car on awarm day,” says An­drea.

“Sum­mer is an en­joy­able time of year for pets and peo­ple, and there are sim­ple steps an­i­mal own­ers can take to make sure their pets are safe and happy too.”

Help your pet stay cool and en­joy a happy sum­mer by fol­low­ing SPCA’s sum­mer safety tips:

Dogs in cars

If the pur­pose of your trip is not for your dog, leave them at home. If you must take your dog­with you in the car, bring fresh wa­ter and a wa­ter dish for them and al­ways take your dog with you when you leave your car. Leav­ing a dog in a car on a warm day is a risk, as they can quickly suf­fer and die in hot cars. The new reg­u­la­tion to pro­tect dogs means, if you leave your dog in a hot car and it be­comes heat stressed, you and the owner of the ve­hi­cle can be fined $300. If you see a dog suf­fer­ing in a hot car, take im­me­di­ate ac­tion by find­ing the dog owner or call the Po­lice or SPCA. Do not smash the car win­dow as this can put both you and the dog at risk.

Ex­er­cise for pets

Ex­er­cise your pets early in the morn­ings or in the evenings, so they won’t over­heat. Avoid long and stren­u­ous walks on­warm, sunny days, and steer clear of pro­longed sun ex­po­sure. Take your pets to an area that has shade or a place for them to swim so they can take a break to cool off, and if they­want to slow down or stop, fol­low their lead. Wa­ter for all

En­sure your an­i­mals al­ways have ac­cess to clean, fresh drink­ing wa­ter. In sum­mer, keep their wa­ter bowl in a shaded spot to avoid it warm­ing up. Just like us, pets don’t like­warm drink­ing wa­ter. You can also leave shal­low dishes of cool wa­ter in shaded spots out­side to help wildlife keep cool and hy­drated. Wa­ter may also be used to mist pets to help them keep cool.

Sun­burn

Pets that are fair-skinned or lighthaired are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to the sun’s harsh rays. Skin can­cer oc­curs com­monly in dogs and cats and, even though the fur pro­vides some sun pro­tec­tion, your pet needs a sun­block ap­plied ev­ery three to four hours to ar­eas of their body that have no, or lit­tle, hair. You can buy pet-friendly sun­screen to rub on the tips of their ears, on the end of their nose, and on their stom­ach— these are the­most com­monly sun­burnt ar­eas. Nor­mal sun­screen in­gre­di­ents in­clude zinc ox­ide, which can be toxic to an­i­mals, so a pet-friendly sun­screen is best.

Shade

En­sure your out­side pets, in­clud­ing horses, goats and poul­try, have ac­cess to shaded ar­eas to avoid the sun. Bear in mind the shade moves through­out the day so make sure to have mul­ti­ple shade sources so your pet is pro­tected re­gard­less of time of day. Ma­ture trees pro­vide ex­cel­lent shade but, if you do not have ac­cess to these, ar­ti­fi­cial shade can be sim­ply and in­ex­pen­sively con­structed from shade cloth or tarps.

Paws for thought

Your dog’s feet can get burnt and blis­tered on the hot ground, par­tic­u­larly hot pave­ments, as­phalt or scorch­ing beach sand. Hot black iron-rich sands are found along much of the Western Coast of the North Is­land and can cause huge dam­age to the paws of your furry friends. Check if it is a safe tem­per­a­ture by hold­ing the back of your hand on the pave­ment or sand for five sec­onds. If it is too hot for you to hold your hand there then your pet shouldn’t be out­walk­ing on it.

Pets re­quir­ing ex­tra care

In the sum­mer months, pet own­ers should take ex­tra care with older or over­weight pets, brachy­cephalic breeds (such as Pugs, Bri­tish Bull­dogs, and French Bull­dogs), and those suf­fer­ing from car­diac con­di­tions. These pets are more sus­cep­ti­ble to fall­ing vic­tim to heat stress.

Make sure your cat has some shaded, cool spots to lie down in.

SPCA re­minds peo­ple not to leave their dogs in the car at this time of year.

Take care of dogs over the hot months.

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