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2006-08-10 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Pets of the Week
...by Joanne Anderson

Billy, Collie mix

The ancients erroneously named the "Dog Days of Summer". From about July 3rd to August 11th, the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, aka the "Dog Star", rises and sets with the sun so even astute Romans back then (who didn't know about the earth's tilt yet) blamed the Dog Star for adding to the sweltering, sultry heat. Centuries later my Dog Days of Summer misconception was more down to earth. I thought summer pet safety tips were obvious and over done. Boy, was I mistaken.

Summer 2006 is not over yet. The SPCA is working full time, following up on those, like the Central Islip lady charged with cruelty for ignoring her heat stricken dog lying near death in her yard, people who disregard common sense and compassion about heat hazards for pets. After an encounter last week with an irrational man who told me that he was going to go away for 3 weeks, and since no one would take his dog, he was going to leave the dog in his yard with a big bucket of water and hope he survived, I realized that while we were looking for where this guy lived, some summer pet warnings needed repeating. Here goes:

A dog or cat can suffer from heat stroke too. This can quickly result in multi-organ shut down, brain damage and death. Signs include heavy panting, rapid pulse, glazed eyes, unsteadiness, vomiting, and /or a red or purple tongue. You must lower your pet's body temperature immediately, by moving the pet into shade or air conditioning; soaking cool (not cold) water over the body; applying cool towel or ice pack compresses to the animal's head, chest, or inner thighs; and giving them small early morning or evening. Remember that the asphalt gets hot too, and can burn pet's paw pads.

Cindy, Persian cat Cindy, Persian cat Provide plenty of cool water and shade for pets for any time they are outdoors. Make sure indoor areas are cooled or wellventilated also, but check your screens. Cats are more apt to jump, fall or escape via windows in the summer.

Dogs riding in backs of pick up trucks are a danger to themselves and other motorists. This is illegal in many states. Canine passengers should be in the cab or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck.

Practice pool safety for pets too. Don't allow your pet free access to the swimming pool even if Fido can dog paddle. Boating dogs need life jackets too.

Be cognizant of over heating car radiators and poisonous, antifreeze puddles on the drivewaytiny amounts of ingested ethylene glycol can cause kidney failure and death.

Pets can get sunburned too. Light pigmented pets are more susceptible to skin cancers, especially on the nose or ear tips.

Mosquitoes and fleas are out there in swarms. Make sure your dog is blood tested first, and then protected against heartworm mosquitoes every month. Heartworm is a deadly, yet completely preventable disease. Also shield your pets from flea invasions. The newer products make flea bombing and spraying no longer a necessary chore.

There are plenty of deserving dogs and cats at Babylon Town Shelter (6439270) Lamar St. W. Babylon just waiting to spend the rest of the summer and sips of water. Get the pet to the vet or animal emergency hospital ASAP or sooner.

NEVER leave a pet in a car on a warm day, even if the windows are cracked open. Pets do not sweat and cannot roll down the windows. Parking in the shade does little to alleviate the escalating heat. On an 85 degree day, the temp inside a car can climb to 102 in 10 minutes, and 120 degrees in a half hour. Be on the look out for pets locked in hot cars in parking lots. Get them help. Time is critical. A few years ago I got a call about a Mastiff in a hot car in a shopping center. A detective told me to call 911. Within minutes, 4 squad cars responded, and the police found the irresponsible ownera carpenter working on a Stop N' Shop. Getting the poor dog out of harm's way was worth his icy stares.

Be careful when exercising your pets on a hot dayespecially those older, ill, obese, heavily coated, or short-nosed (brachiocephaplic breeds like Pugs or Persians). Limit any short walks to

the rest of forever with you. Telltale signs that cat adoptions are slow: an adorable litter of tiny longhair orange and white kittens plus "Cindy"a gorgeous shaded silver Persian in C-7have not been adopted yet. Meanwhile "Billy", a 1 _ year old Collie mix in Cage 47, is such a sad case. He was turned into the shelter several months ago when his owner became homeless himself. "Billy" is a sweetheart, does tricks for treats, but is very nervous with all the kennel barking. See more photos of Babylon's Petfinder site.

Males: "Mr. Chips"a parti-colored Cocker spaniel in Cage 3; a black Lab mix in Cage 35; "Sinatra"a white Husky puppy in Cage 17; and 2 majestic purebredsan Akita in Cage 43 and a German shepherd in Cage 41.

Females: "Ivy"the tortie, declawed cat in C-5; a pair of Min Pins in Cage 59/60; "Brandy"a senior choc. Lab in Cage 57.

Last Hope's Fix-A-Feral Program631-425-1884 (key into the stray/feral hotline)

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