You might have noticed (who hasn’t!) that it’s been unusually hot recently. Is that stating the obvious? And a reminder about the need to take heat precautions with your pets might seem obvious too (and a little late) but it never hurts to hear it again especially since the heat’s not over!
Those of you who get used to taking your dogs with you wherever you go during the winter have a hard time breaking the habit when the heat kicks in. Leaving a dog in a car during a hot day is like sticking your pet in an oven and turning it on! The animal literally bakes in there. Which is not only seriously dangerous for them (heat stroke and death) but can be life altering for you since you could be charged with a crime. A new law now allows citizens to break into cars to rescue animals that are in distress because of heat. But, before you go around smashing everyone’s window know that you are required to call Animal Control or the police first to let them know. We all roll our eyes and think how obviously stupid it is to leave an animal (or child) in a car but how often have you thought that you’d only be gone a few minutes and get stuck in a long line or bump into someone you know and become distracted.
Outdoor pets have it hard during the heat of the day unless you make a lot of provisions for them. Make sure there is shade available at all times. That means spending a day in your backyard watching how the sun moves and making sure that there is always shade. Misters are nice and very affective at cooling an area although they use a lot of water if left running all day. Make sure there is plenty of cool water (place it where it would be in the shade). One bucket, no matter how big, is not enough. There is always the risk that it could get knocked over and that would be the end of that!
They make cooling vests and beds for pets. They are filled with a cooling gel that helps your pet get relief from the heat. You might want to have one available for your pets if it’s hot in your home. I find the easiest way to keep the house relatively cool is ironically to shut all the windows and blinds to keep the sun out. As soon as the house is out of sunlight you open them back up and allow the air to flow through. Since dogs and cats don’t sweat, having a flow of fresh air is the best way for them to cool off via panting. Rabbits and other small caged pets can benefit from having a frozen water bottle put in their cage.
With July 4th coming soon and all the outdoor picnics, bar-b-ques and parties, it’s especially important to consider if it’s a safe place to bring your dog or if they’d be better off in the safety and coolness of your house. Firecrackers and fireworks can easily spook a dog and send them running. If you are bringing Fido along, make sure they have a collar with an ID and a microchip (both free at our shelter for RP/Cotati residents). At least then there is a way to return the pet to you if they bolt.
Respect the heat and be considerate of your pets’ ability to tolerate it when taking them for walks. Burned paw pads and heat exhaustion (or worse) is no fun for anyone. Be smart and safe this summer!
Registration for our popular Kidz ‘n Critters summer camp program for students in 2nd-7th grades is now open. $125 per camper/$25 sibling discount for a one-week fun camp experience. Each session is M-F, 8:30-1p.m. and includes a camp T-shirt.
“Get Them Back Home” Campaign – Every lost pet should have a way to get back home. FREE pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wed 1-6:30; Thurs.-Fri-Sat 1-5:30; Sun 1-4:30 p.m.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 for dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.