2006-08-10 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Pets of the Week
...by Joanne Anderson

Luke, Lab/Dalmatian Luke, Lab/Dalmatian The ancients erroneously named the "Dog Days of Summer". From about July 3rd to August 11th, the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, aka the "Dog Star", rises and sets with the sun so even astute Romans back then (who didn't know about the earth's tilt yet) blamed the Dog Star for adding to the sweltering, sultry heat. Centuries later my Dog Days of Summer misconception was more down to earth. I thought summer pet safety tips were obvious and over done. Boy, was I mistaken.

Summer 2006 is not over yet. The SPCA is working full time, following up on those, like that Central Islip lady charged with cruelty for ignoring her heat stricken dog lying near death in her yard, people who disregard common sense and compassion about heat hazards for pets. After an encounter last week with an irrational man who told me that he was going to go away for 3 weeks, and since no one would take his dog, he was going to leave the dog in his yard with a big bucket of water and hope he survived, I realized that while we were looking for where this guy lived, some summer pet warnings needed repeating. Here goes:

A dog or cat can suffer from heat stroke too. This can quickly result in multi-organ shut down, brain damage and death. Signs include heavy panting, rapid pulse, glazed eyes, unsteadiness, vomiting, and /or a red or purple tongue. You must lower your pet's body temperature immediately, by moving the pet into shade or air conditioning; soaking cool (not cold) water over the body; applying cool towel or ice pack compresses to the animal's head, chest, or inner thighs; and giving them small sips of water. Get the pet to the vet or animal emergency hospital ASAP or sooner.

Fritz, Mini Schnauzer Fritz, Mini Schnauzer NEVER leave a pet in a car on a warm day, even if the windows are cracked open. Pets do not sweat and cannot roll down the windows. Parking in the shade does little to alleviate the escalating heat. On an 85 degree day, the temp inside a car can climb to 102 in 10 minutes, and 120 degrees in a half hour. Be on the look out for pets locked in hot cars in parking lots. Get them help. Time is critical. A few years ago I got a call about a Mastiff in a hot car at South Gate shopping center. A detective told me to call 911. Within minutes, 4 squad cars responded, and the officers found the irresponsible ownera carpenter working on Stop N' Shop. I surely was impressed by the Nassau police.

Be careful when exercising your pets on a hot dayespecially those older, ill, obese, heavily coated, or short-nosed (brachiocephaplic breeds like Pugs or Persians). Limit any short walks to early morning or evening. Remember that the asphalt gets hot too, and can burn pet's paw pads.

Provide plenty of cool water and shade for pets for any time they are outdoors. Make sure indoor areas are cooled or wellventilated also, but check your screens. Cats are more apt to jump, fall or escape via windows in the summer.

Dogs riding in backs of pick up trucks are a danger to themselves and other motorists. This is illegal in many states. Canine passengers should be in the cab or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck.

Practice pool safety for pets too. Don't allow your pet free access to the swimming pool even if Fido can dog paddle. Boating dogs need life jackets too.

Be cognizant of over heating car radiators and poisonous, antifreeze puddles on the drivewaytiny amounts of ingested ethylene glycol can cause kidney failure and death.

Pets can get sunburned too. Light pigmented pets are more susceptible to skin cancers, especially on the nose or ear tips.

Mosquitoes and fleas are out there in swarms. Make sure your dog is blood tested first, and then protected against heartworm mosquitoes every month. Heartworm is a deadly, yet completely preventable disease. Also shield your pets from flea invasions. The newer products make flea bombing and spraying no longer a necessary chore.

Deserving dogs and cats at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677-5784) Miller Pl. Syosset are just waiting to spend the rest of the summer and the rest of forever with you. "Luke"#060749 is a well-behaved Lab/Dalmatian who knows commands and likes kids. "Fritz" #060726 is a stray, senior mini Schnauzer who needs some TLC, and probably dentistry. See more photos on the shelter's Petfinder site.

More cats: two handsome fellows"Aspen"the gray tabby in the lobby window & "Mikey" the magnificent cream & white longhair .

More dogs: "Megan" #060654a Border collie/Lab; "Jake" #060731a 10 month Chessie mix; "Apollo" #060704a Shepherd with floppy ears.

Last Hope's Fix-A-Feral Program631-425-1884 (key into the stray/feral hotline).

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