The Coast News Group

Summer safety for your pet

RANCHO SANTA FE — Helen Woodward Animal Center wants all pet owners to be prepared for summer, and for the continued safety of pets by following these tips:

Don’t leave your dog or cat in a car.

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.

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.

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

Keep pets away from hot barbecue 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 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.

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 For information on the Helen Woodward Animal Center Companion Animal Hospital, dial (858) 756-4469.