Summer Pet Care Tips
Cook County Animal and Rabies Control urges pet owners to take special precautions to protect the health and welfare of their pets in the summer.
The department offers tips for pet owners:
Keep pets on leash: Only let your dog off-lead in designated dog-friendly areas. This protects your dog and people or other dogs or animals that are nearby. In Cook County, 80 percent of dog bites occur in the summer. Children running, cycling or skateboarding can tempt an off-lead dog to chase them, and this can result in bite incidents. In addition, dogs may be tempted to chase squirrels and break free from their leads.
Do not leave your pet in a hot car: Studies have shown that even with the windows rolled down, the temperature inside the car can increase by 15 degrees above the outside temperature. The law requires that any time the ambient temperature is above 78 degrees, you cannot leave your dog in a car.
Keep your pets cool when outside: All dogs should be provided with cool water and shade and monitored when outside. Short-coated animals and animals with white or tan fur are susceptible to sunburn, especially on their noses.
Consider a haircut: If your dog has a thick coat, consider a haircut for summer. One inch is a good length to keep you dog more comfortable in the heat while avoiding sunburn.
Vaccinate your pets: Make sure that your pets ae up-to-date on all shots, including canine influenza virus, feline distemper and rabies. Cook County Animal and Rabies Control offers low-cost rabies vaccine clinics in June, July and Aug. Find locations, dates and times at www.cookcountyil.gov/service/low-cost-rabies-clinic
Take care of your pet’s paws: Asphalt and sidewalks are hotter than grass, and paw pads are highly sensitive to heat. Whenever possible, walk your dog on grass, dirt or gravel, and avoid asphalt and concrete during a heat wave.
Keep inside temperatures cool: Make sure your indoor pets have water and are comfortable when in the home. And don’t be alarmed if you see your cat sleeping somewhere odd, like the bathtub or the closet. Cats look for the coolest spot in the home.