With June gloom behind us, the dog days of summer are fast approaching… After all the graduations, the rush of summer weddings and getting the kids off to camp, the long, warm days ahead lend themselves to outdoor activities and the overall experience of having more time to spend with loved ones; friends, family and well… pets.
Though perhaps the easiest relationships we might have are with our pets, they are also some of the most important. Our pets play a huge role in our lives and fill our hearts with almost inexplicable joy. Their pictures fill our scrapbooks, our screensavers, our wallets and cell phones. We blog about them, video tape them, talk about them — sharing stories about their all-too cute antics with anyone who’s willing to listen and we shop for them too! The love we receive in return from our pets is pure, unadulterated and simply habit forming. Because of this we, no doubt, fit them into our summer plans and activities.
Unfortunately summertime poses several threats for pets or animals not as pampered and well cared for as our own. Dogs left on tight leashes or in hot cars, cats that have not been neutered and multiply without a healthy environment to live in and horses that are overworked in the sun are just a few of the serious issues that face some of these innocent creatures.
Our featured nonprofit, ASPCA, is one of the leading nonprofit groups who take on the responsibility of being the voice for these mistreated animals. Founded in 1866 as the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere, the group was formed to alleviate the injustices animals faced then, and they continue to battle cruelty today. Whether it’s saving a pet that has been accidentally poisoned, fighting to pass humane laws, rescuing animals from abuse or sharing resources with shelters across the country, ASPCA works toward the day in which no animal will live in pain or fear.
So this summer shop for all your camping gear, wedding gifts, BBQ tools, airplane tickets and other fun summertime stuff through www.nonprofitshoppingmall.com and support ASPCA. Check back soon to see our July retail blogs, featuring specialty pet products for those of you who just can’t help but pamper your special animals.
Also, make sure to stop by the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) website to learn all about how to be humane to animals, how to get involved with community programs and ways to teach your children or classroom about animal rights. Last but not least, before you take the mutts for a W-A-L-K… here is the ASPCA hot weather guide to keep your beloveds safe and healthy all summer long!
Hot Weather Tips:
(For a kid’s version of the following summer guide go to: http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=kids_ri_petshotweather)
In summertime, living isn’t always easy for our animal friends. Dogs and cats can suffer from the same problems that humans do, such as overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you can celebrate the season and keep your pets happy and healthy.
- A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must; add to that a test for heartworm, if your dog isn’t on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
- Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle—hyperthermia can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.
- Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
- The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.
- Street smarts: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
- A day at the beach is a no-no, unless you can guarantee a shady spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion. Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.
- Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.
- Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.
- Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length—never down to the skin, please, which robs Rover of protection from the sun—helps prevent overheating. Cats should be brushed often.
- Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
- Having a backyard barbecue? Always keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of pets’ reach.
- Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.
- Stay alert for signs of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting and drooling and mild weakness, along with an elevated body temperature.
For a lot of families, summertime means swimming time. If your pooch will be joining you on your adventures, be it lakeside, oceanside or poolside, please read our following tips:
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool.
- Not all dogs are good swimmers; so if water sports are a big part of your family, please introduce your pets to water gradually.
- Make sure all pets wear flotation devices on boats.
- Try not to let your dog drink pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause GI upset.
Help us honor the ASPCA and its work with a fun little ‘pin-up’ activity — come by our myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/nonprofitshoppingmall and post your cutest pet pictures on our interactive cork board. Thanks for stopping by and a big summertime ‘cheers’ from our family of happy pets: Tinkerbell, Joe-Joe, Wayah, Jack, Oliver, Nibbles, and Blaze!