Keep your pet safe this summer!
Minnesota is a great place to live during the summer. Most of us are fortunate enough to have lakes within quick walking or driving distance and access to numerous parks, and for those of us with dogs, we love to incorporate our four-legged friends into all of our outdoor activities. Trips to the dog park and weekends spent hiking at your cabin are great ways for you and your dog to bond and exercise together, but it is important to remember that as the temperature rises, so do the number of risks to your animal's health. Any pet can suffer from heat stress, but those who are most susceptible are very young or very old animals, pets with a history of heat stress, short-nosed breeds, overweight animals, and animals with cardiovascular or respiratory disorders. Check out the list below to keep your pet, dog or cat, safe this summer:
- Provide plenty of fresh, cool water, whether you are indoors or outdoors.
- Make sure your pet has a cool, shaded place to rest.
- Limit exercise during hot weather - early morning and late evening are the best times for walks.
- NEVER leave an animal in a parked car.
- Discuss with your vet to find the right flea and tick preventative for your pet.
- Discuss with your vet to find the right preventative for heartworm, a mosquito-transmitted disease.
During your summer adventures with your pet, keep an eye open for the following signs of heat stress:
- Profuse panting and/or salivation
- Failure to respond to commands
- Warm, dry skin
- High fever
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscular weakness or collapse
If you notice any of these signs in your pet, call your veterinarian immediately. You can also try to reduce your pet's temperature by gradually immersing or spraying him with cool water. Do not use cold water or ice as this will constrict blood and inhibit cooling.
Breed Awareness: Part Two
Last month we covered the issue of Breed Specific Legislation, or breed specific bans. These bans regulate the type of dog a person is permitted to own, which hurt both the breeds in question and responsible owners. As discussed in the last newsletter, Breed Specific Legislation is not an effective long-term solution. On top of being discriminatory, it is also costly and difficult to enforce. Pit Bull Rescue Central
lists the following alternatives to Breed Specific Legislation:
- Stronger enforcement of existing dangerous dog laws. If they are not already in place, lobby for protection from untrained and unsupervised dogs of any breed or mix. This is a broad-based effort that protects all citizens as any dog can bite and be a nuisance when owned by an irresponsible owner. Those who would deliberately train a dog to act aggressively towards people or other animals, or to use dogs in the commission of a felony or misdemeanor should face additional penalties.
- Encourage local animal rescue and welfare agencies to provide responsible dog ownership seminars and canine safety education. The American Kennel Club has a free education program created for elementary school children.
- Protect the rights of all citizens with nuisance ordinances such as anti-barking, pooper-scooper regulations and leash laws.
Some other alternatives include, but are not limited to:
- Greater enforcement of leash laws.
- Judging dogs on a case-by-case basis, regardless of breed.
- Create larger penalties for animal cruelty and animal abuse, including in cases of training dogs to fight.
- Requirements for spaying and neutering.
- Create training and socialization requirements for all dogs.
for a complete listing of Breed Specific Legislation in the US.