Animal/Pet Safety for the Spring Season
With the warm weather approaching, it can be tempting to do just about anything to get out of the house. It sounds like a good idea let your “cabin-fevered” dog or cat run amuck in the great outdoors to burn some energy and get some fresh air, but not without the proper precautions.

For the Cat Owner
First and foremost, cats should NEVER be allowed outdoors. The upcoming heat and humidity of the summer can really play a toll on your kitty. Without sufficient food and more importantly water, any animal can dehydrate and overheat in a very short amount of time. Regarding health issues and even with state mandated rabies vaccinations, there are a number of other, more common diseases that your feline friend can contract, resulting in severe illness or even death. Aside from diseases, there are far more frequent instances of injury and death resulting from motor vehicle accidents and the intentions of ill-wishing individuals. Cats are not capable of “looking both ways before crossing the street,” so a sudden dash into the street could very well cause a horrible injury and most likely death. And not everyone out there is a cat lover, particularly around Halloween. Certain cats are targeted to be used for sacrifice and torture. There are even some cat shelters that will not adopt out black or white cats in the month of October for this very reason. Yet, it doesn’t take Halloween for these types of individuals to prey on the helpless kitty, so keeping them indoors in your best bet. Now some may say it is in a cat’s nature to want to be outdoors and I couldn’t agree with you more. But isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

For the Dog Owner
The family dog would love to convince you that he is perfectly fine being outdoors all on his own. No owner to keep an eye on him, but more importantly keep him out of trouble. If there were only a way to prove to Fido that we are only sticking around for his own good, life would be much easier, wouldn’t it? Not to mention shield him from hurting himself. It’s also our job to guard him from others, be it another 4 legged friend he shares this planet with or an individual looking to harm or even dognap him. Similar to those issues mentioned above regarding cats, the rate of “Dognapping” has increased dramatically over the years, with over 40,000 dogs being reported missing a year in the United States. There are a few ways you can protect yourself and your pooch:

1. Never leave animals outdoors unattended whether it is on a tether, in an insecure yard, or out roaming free. This is an open invitation for someone to take your dog.

2. Keep dogs on a leash when outside of a confined area. If in a dog park or run, always keep your dog in sight at ALL times. Know your local leash laws in order to protect you and your pup.

3. If someone is showing a significant amount of interest in your pup, be extra cautious. They might be scoping you and your doggie out to be their next victim.

4. Keep your dog (and all pets) microchipped.

5. Do NOT put your dog’s name on his/her collar. Your dog will answer to its name and no one will assume the Dognapper isn’t the proper owner if he knows this sort of information.

6. Be aware of surrounding animals, for you and your family’s own protection. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood pets, and if there is a strange animal roaming about, call your local authorities to make them aware.

Now, aside from dognapping, there are a few other rules to live by in these hot summer months to come in regards to your dog. Leave water available at all times, indoors and out. The heat causes dehydration so you need to allow your canine companions the opportunity to re-fuel. If you do allow your pup outdoors for an extended period of time, be sure there is ample shade available for him to hide from the sun. And NEVER leave a pet in a car in the summertime. The temperature in a car (even in the shade with the windows cracked) can rise up to 40 degrees in less than an hour (with the majority of that intense increase occurring in the first 30 minutes). If you plan on going places that do not allow pets, it is a safer bet to leave him at home.

For more information on the Dog Days of Summer, the Humane Society of the United States has an ample amount of information HERE.

Contributed by Jen from Mommy Instincts