The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cautions dog guardians to keep their best friends safe in summer weather. Dogs, cats, and small pets like rabbits, Guinea pigs, hamsters and domesticated birds are susceptible to a number of challenges in the summer. Though New Mexico has no law regarding pets in cars, word has gotten out that no pet should ever be left locked in a parked car. Beyond this concern, according to the ASPCA, there are a number of other problems pet owners need to anticipate and prevent.
- Provide pets with adequate shelter/shade, cool air and ample water. If dogs become overheated, they might spill their water in an attempt to have a cool place to lie down, but then, they don’t have a clean source of water.
- Certain dog breeds with short noses are especially prone to overheating. The same precautions should be taken with young, elderly and overweight animals.
- In extreme heat, pets should be brought indoors, either into air conditioning or some place with cooling fans running.
- Don’t leave dogs unsupervised around a pool. Some are not natural swimmers. They can be taught but small breeds might lack the stamina to swim to the exit in the pool. Also, it’s a great idea for dogs to wear flotation vests when out on the boat with the family.
- Grooming pets regularly will keep their coat in good condition. Matted fur can prevent the animal from properly cooling off. The ASPCA recommends that dogs and cats never be shaved, as it destroys their natural protection against the heat and UV light, leading to sunburn and overheating.
- Be mindful of hot pavement when walking the dog. Touch the pavement: if it’s too hot for human hands, it’s too hot for Fido’s paws.
- Give pets an interior place to hide from fireworks and never shoot fireworks around them. Livestock as well as dogs and cats can get overstressed from pyrotechnics and might behave unpredictably. In the days after July 4, many stray animals are brought into shelters, probably due to fear and disorientation.