Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summertime Safety

 Summertime, and the living is easy! Here are some ways to keep me safe.
Make sure I have dog tags with my name, address, and phone number. I also have a microchip, so if I do get lost, the animal control officer can scan me and get me reunited with Mom and Dad ASAP!
Never leave me in the car, even if it is “just for a minute.”  Cars heat up very fast, even if it is only 70 degrees outside. Remember that you might be comfortable, but I am wearing a fur coat and my body temperature does not adjust to temperature changes as quickly as yours does.
Signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteady walk, deep red or purple tongue, vomiting, diarrhea. You must lower the body temperature immediately by:  1) moving the pet to the shade and gradually pour cool (not cold) water over its body to gradually lower the body temperature. 2) Apply icepacks or cold towels to the pet’s head, neck, and chest area only. 3) Let the pet lick ice cubes or ice cream but limit access to cold water. 4) Take the pet immediately to a veterinarian. This could save its life. If you see an animal in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, call your local animal control or police department immediately!
Walk me in the early morning or in the evening, when it is cooler. If I am a partner in your walking or jogging exercise routine, please bring along some water and a soft bowl (available at pet stores) for me.
If I am outside a lot during the day, please make sure I have a shady place to rest and access to fresh water.  Do not tie me up or chain me. That would be cruel.
If you want to take me boating or to the beach, please consider buying me a life jacket. Believe it or not, some dogs cannot swim at all! Please don’t throw them in. Even though I am a Lab and live for the water, I can get tired or injured and that life jacket might save my life.  And again, bring me my own water and bowl.  You will want to hose me off with fresh water when you leave. Please towel-dry my coat and wipe out and dry my ears.
Summer is often a time when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens.  Keep me away from plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides. These can be fatal if I ingest them. Also, over 700 plants are potentially poisonous to me including azaleas, daffodils, lantana, and oleander.
Antifreeze may leak from a car in the summer or anytime during the year. Antifreeze tastes sweet to me, but can be toxic in small amounts. Please be aware of leaking antifreeze and keep containers of it out of reach.
If you are traveling with me, it is a good idea to have the name and address of a Vet where you are visiting, in case I need medical attention.
Fireworks. I don’t like thunder and lightening, so why would you think I would enjoy fireworks? Please leave me at home with a good bone and some country music.

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