1. Don’t Overdo it in Hot Weather
Car Safety: Never leave pets alone in the car. Not only is it illegal — California Penal Code 597.7 prohibits leaving an animal unattended in a car when it endangers the health or well-being of the animal — but the desert’s high temperatures can prove fatal within minutes. Even on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. The Humane Society of the United States advises that you call an animal care control agency or the police immediately if you spot an animal in distress in a car and stay until officers arrive. You can also ask nearby businesses to make an announcement about a pet left in a hot car.
photo courtesy of Cold Nose Warm Heart
Grip Trex Dog Boots will protect your dog's paw pads.
Exercise Safety: Walk your pets in the morning or evening to avoid heatstroke and burning footpads on hot asphalt. If pavement is too hot for you to touch, it’s too hot for paws. Robert Brugeman of Cold Nose Warm Heart recommends Grip Trex Dog Boots to protect paw pads. Other products to help keep your dog safe in the sun include Doggles sunglasses; a KoolCollar that you fill with ice; and the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler vest.
Sun Safety: Animals with light coats and sparse hair are more susceptible to skin cancers, says Gina Eichen, registered veterinary technician at Desert Veterinary Specialists in Palm Desert. Eichen suggests including a thorough skin check at your pet’s checkups. Keep pets indoors to reduce UV exposure, and ask your vet about using sunscreen to protect skin, particularly around the nose, ears, eyes, and belly.
Pool Safety: Supervise pets in and around the pool. Teach them where the steps are and how to get out of the pool; rinse them with fresh water after their dips to remove chlorine residue from their fur.
Signs of heat-related distress:
• Heavy panting
• Glazed eyes
• Rapid pulse
• Unsteady, staggering gait
• Vomiting or drooling
• Deep red or purple tongue
What to do:
• Call your vet immediately
• Move your pet to a cooler area
• Apply cool (not cold) water all over his body or soak him in a cool bath
• Place cool, wet towels on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin area
• Direct a fan on the wet areas
• Offer fresh, cool water if your dog is alert, but don’t force it
Source: ASPCA, HSUS
2. Keep First Aid at Your Fingertips
Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app for instant access to emergency care tips. The app offers interactive quizzes, photos, how-to videos, and step-by-step instructions for more than 25 dog and cat first aid emergencies. Other features include:
• Customizable pet profiles for storing tag ID, photo, and medical information, including vet appointments.
• Symptom checker and early warning signs for when to contact a veterinarian
• Animal hospital and pet-friendly hotel locator.
• Pet emergency-preparedness plans.
• Common toxic substances.
To get the app, text “GETPET” to 90999, go to www.redcross.org/mobileapps, or search “Red Cross Pets” in the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Amazon Marketplace. The Red Cross occasionally offers a hands-on pet first aid course in the Coachella Valley; visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass or call 800-733-2767 for information and upcoming dates. Pet-specific first aid kits are available from most online pet supply retailers. Compile your own kit at www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html
photo courtesy of aspca animal poison control center
Watch our for grapes, which can be toxic to pets.
3. Monitor Everything They Eat
These foods can be toxic to pets:
Alcohol, avocados, caffeine, chocolate, coffee, fruit pits, grapes and raisins,
hops, macadamia nuts, milk,
raw/undercooked meat and bones, eggs, onions, garlic, chives, salt,
Xylitol (sweetener), and yeast dough
Poison Control: Keep all medications, drugs, and cleaning products out of the reach of pets. Clean up any chemical spills, especially antifreeze, which smells sweet to animals and is toxic. Visit www.petpoisonhelpline.com for more information. If you suspect your animal has been poisoned, contact the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Source: ASPCA, HSUS
photos courtesy of the city of rancho mirage
The city of Rancho Mirage offers a Pet Identification Card.
4. Have a Plan in Place in Case of Disaster
Local municipalities understand that companion animals are part of the family. Rancho Mirage’s Disaster Preparedness Program for Pets offers residents a Pet Identification Card, complete with photo and detailed information, to help in the event of a natural disaster. Visit the Emergency Preparedness Commission at www.ranchomirageca.gov for a list of what to include in a disaster readiness kit. The city of Palm Springs also offers step-by-step plans on the fire department portion of www.palmspringsca.gov. Visit www.ready.gov/caring-animals for more. In addition, make sure pets stay up to date on vaccinations, and keep microchip and licensing information current.
photo courtesy of petcube.com
When away from home, keep an eye on your pet with an interactive Petcube camera.
5. Watch Them While You’re Away
Want to keep a watchful eye on your furries when they’re home alone? Hook up your laptop for remote viewing, download the Dog Monitor app at www.dogmonitorapp.com, or invest in an interactive Petcube camera. It comes with a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices, and you can watch, talk, and play with your pet from your smartphone no matter where you are. Visit www.petcube.com for more information.