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Summertime safety tips from Helen Woodward Animal Center

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Although many fireworks celebrations have taken place, there are still more to come and Helen Woodward Animal Center, based in Rancho Santa Fe, California is willing to do whatever it takes in order to keep our fuzzy family members safe and sound during the noise and confusion that exists during this celebration of our country’s independence. In fact, they have compiled a list of important safety tips that they want to share with you that you can use this weekend and all summer long.

Too many people have been injured do to burns and explosions caused from improper safety methods with fireworks. It is best to avoid these same issues with our four-legged companions.

For those families planning on attending fireworks shows tonight or tomorrow:

· More family pets will run away from home this weekend than during any other time of the year because of fireworks.

· Do not bring your pets along to the fireworks displays.

· Bring your pets indoors before fireworks displays begin.

· Make sure that your pets have access to their favorite “safe place” or find a quiet, comfortable, enclosed room where your pets can “hide” if they need to.

· If you are going to a fireworks display and leaving your pets at home alone, leave the radio or television set on so there is some “normal” background noise.

· Make sure your pets are micro-chipped. Many of the pets that run away during the fireworks will escape by slipping out of their collars. Micro-chip identification will assure that your pet is returned if it ends up at a shelter.

Since many areas of our country are forecasting hot temperatures, the following data may help you help your pet:

· The normal body temperature for a dog is 101 to 102 degrees.

· A three-degree rise can put a dog into a dangerous situation and increase its need for oxygen.

· At 108 degrees the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and intestinal tracts begin to break down.

· Don’t leave your dog or cat in a car.

· If you let them outside, make sure that your pets have plenty of water and shade.

· If you believe that your pet is overheating bring it into air conditioning. You can immerse it in cool (not cold) water and give it “sips” of water. If necessary, apply ice packs and immediately take your dog to your veterinarian.

· If the pavement or sidewalk is too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. The pads can easily be burned on hot days.

As far as general summertime safety, here are tips that can help you with as well:

· Keep pets away from hot barbeque grills or coals.

· Keep dogs and cats away from picnic foods such as alcoholic beverages, chocolate and other foods like onions, grapes, raisins, avocado, and coffee – all of which can be toxic to our pets.

· Store pesticides and fertilizers out of reach of pets.

· Keep your dog or cat away from lighter fluid, insect repellant, glow in the dark jewelry, and sunscreen. All of these items are potentially lethal if inhaled or ingested.

· Make sure that pets are not sniffing grass seed into their noses.

· Keep pets away from Styrofoam and plastic utensils used at picnics and parties and the plastic wrap and strings that cover raw meat. These items are alluring to pets and will lead to gastrointestinal obstruction when ingested, which may require surgery.

· Dogs that watch you plant bulbs may dig them up. The bulbs can be poisonous.

· Dogs or cats with white noses or ear tips can sunburn. If your pet will wear sunscreen, that’s great. But most of them will lick it off. It’s best to just keep them in the shade when the sun is bright.

Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) has compiled this data for you so that you will be able to help your pets during the hot months of the year and with holidays such as July 4th that tend to spook many animals. While the majority of families tend to enjoy the summer months, the furry members of our family have the potential to face real danger. Annually the celebratory day tops the charts with the highest numbers of pet losses across the country due to the fear of fireworks and other summertime dangers.

In order to curb those dangers, HWAC has compiled this very useful information for you. For more information or for summertime safety questions, call Helen Woodward Animal Center at 858-756-4117, visit the Center at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe or visit www.animalcenter.org. For information on the Helen Woodward Animal Center Companion Animal Hospital, dial 858-756-4469.

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