#PetSafety: Dogs In Hot Cars, On Hot Pavement

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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

On Tuesday we hosted a rousing #BlogPawsChat on Twitter that focused on pet safety. Because pet safety is such a crucial factor in being a responsible pet parent we have devoted the entire month of July to it, but remember — caring for your pets and being aware of their safety is a year-round responsibility.

Hen on deckI vacation with my diva poodle, Henrietta, a lot. She loses her mind when I have to take her for a grooming so I honestly am not certain what would happen to her — mentally — if she ever had to be boarded. Honestly I am not certain what would happen to me — mentally — if I ever had to board her. Henrietta has been my traveling companion for six road trips that took us from New York to Arizona. She is a great passenger, but not much of a navigator! We recently returned from a week long trip to the Thousand Islands where we rented a house on a lake and here are some of the things I thought about as it relates to pet safety, dogs in hot cars and dogs on hot pavement:

  • Dogs in hot cars. When I travel with Henrietta I know accommodations will need to be made if I need to make a restroom run or a stop at a grocery store. When we vacation one of us will stay in the air conditioned car with her while the other dashes in. If I travel alone, I put her in my purse and take her in where ever I go. I don’t care if it was 20 degrees or 70 degrees outside. I never leave her in a car. Why? What if someone decided to break a window and take her? I’d be devastated. I would never take that chance with my Hen. Keep in mind that even on a sunny, 60 degree day the interior of your car can heat up to 100 degrees — a deadly temperature for your pet. I cannot stress this enough. Never, never, never leave your dog in a (hot, or any) car!
  • Dogs on hot pavement. We vacation at the Thousand Islands regularly because we not only love the region, but the towns are very pet friendly. Walk along any street in Clayton, Alexandria Bay or Cape Vincent and you will find bowls of fresh water on the sidewalk for the pets. The shop owners are extremely welcoming to dogs — and not just dogs in arms like Henrietta typically is. When I was in a a store there was a family with their German Shepard who was welcomed in. I love that! I do know I have an advantage when it comes to not having Henrietta walk on hot pavement because she is light and I can carry her. If she wasn’t so portable there are a lot of outdoor events I wouldn’t attend because I wouldn’t want to risk her injuring the pads of her feet by walking on hot pavement. I saw a test that showed if you cannot rest the back of your hand on a sidewalk or road without it feeling hot, it is too hot for your pet’s feet. You are truly not doing them any favors by dragging them to outdoor events where they will be subjected to hot pavement.
  • Dogs on decks. The house we stayed had its own deck and the houses around us did as well. When Henrietta was on the deck, or even if we were just walking by the water she was in her life jacket and on a leash. You just never know if she would have seen something that intrigued her and she would have dashed into the water and something could have happened to her. Am I overly cautious? Perhaps. I was the same way with my children, so it stands to reason I’d be this way with Henrietta. The dogs that surrounded us at the vacation spot were not on leashes nor were they wearing any water safety devices. Granted, they were labs who seemed to revel in the water, but even so, if they were mine I would likely have been as overly cautious with them as I am with Hen. Remember too, that the deck gets hot. It’s the same reasoning as hot pavement or hot sidewalks. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.

Hen and rainHere are some quick pet safety tips:

  • Always bring water and a vessel for your pet to drink it from. There should always be ample fresh water available to all of your pets, both indoors and out.
  • Check your dog for ticks — they are a problem this year.
  • Keep your dog out of the hot sun because their skin can get sunburned.
  • If your dog isn’t microchipped, you will want to have a license tag with your contact information on it.
  • When you take a road trip with your pet, it’s not safe to have him sitting on your lap while you’re driving. Your pet should be safely strapped into a pet harness when you’re in the car.
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke can strike your pet whether she’s indoors (in a non air conditioned house) or outside in the heat of the day. Know the signs of heat exhaustion.

There is much, much more to pet safety than keeping them safe in the hot summer months, and we will be covering those during the month. Stay tuned! What are your best pet safety tips?