Each summer, hundreds of animals are cooked to death and thousands suffer brain damage because careless owners leave them in parked cars.
"Even with the windows left partly open, the temperature in a car can reach as high as 160 degrees in a very short time," says Humane Society spokeswoman Holly Sherer, who warns that pets should not be left in parked cars when the temperature is over 70 degrees. "Dogs and cats cool themselves by panting, and with only overheated air to breathe, your pet may die of heatstroke.
"The onset is sudden, and those that do survive may suffer irreparable brain damage. If your pet does suffer from heat stroke, gradually immerse it in cool water, apply ice packs to its head, neck and under its tail, and take it to your veterinarian."
These additional tips for summer pet care are from the Humane Society, the American Veterinary Association and the Pet Club of America:
Never shave your dog all the way down to the skin. While a fur coat may seem inappropriate in hot weather, an animal's fur actually insulates it from the heat. A trim is sufficient, and daily brushing helps remove the heavy undercoat.
Make sure the animal has adequate shade and plenty of fresh, cold water. See that the water is not too cold, however, since chilled fluids can cause systematic upsets.
Cut back on your pet's exercise in hot weather, since too much activity in the hot sun can cause heatstroke. Early morning or late evening are the best times.
Feed your animal in the morning, before the temperature climbs. When the mercury hits 90 degrees, metabolic changes triggered by the heat may make it a fussy eater.
Check often for ticks and fleas, paying special attention areas between the toes, in and behind ears, under front legs and around the head.
Have your pet tagged or tattooed, since there is a sharp increase in lost pets during the summer.
Make sure the animal gets necessary innoculations. Every dog or cat traveling across state lines should be accompanied by valid health and rabies-innoculation certificates. The tourist bureau of the place you plan to visit should be able to tell you if any other shots or documents are required.
Check in advance to see if your pet is welcome. Some airlines require dogs and cats to be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least five days before flying. Amtrak prohibits animals (except seeing-eye dogs) on trains, as do most bus companies. Some parks prohibit pets.
When reserving hotel rooms, make sure pets are allowed. Some states do not permit pets in the same rooms in which humans sleep.
Never permit your pet to ride in a car with its head out the window. The animal could get hit by a passing car or floating debris, or could develop a respiratory infection from cold air being forced into its lungs.
Find out the airline's pet regulations when you book your flight. Some animals are allowed as a carry-on with passengers, while others must ride in the cargo compartment, which may get very hot in summer. Try to book direct midweek flights or those with a minimum of stops. Choose early-morning or late-evening flights when possible to reduce the risk of overheating.
Choose a durable pet carrier large enough for your animal to sit or lie down. It should have several ventilating holes on four sides plus rims or knobs to keep the air flow from being blocked by cartons placed alongside it. Be sure it is labeled with words"Live Animal," arrows indicting the upright position, and your name, address and telephone number.
Consider boarding your pet with a friend or at a kennel if the animal is in poor health or becomes restless on trips. If your trip is short and your animal timid or elderly, arranging for a dog sitter might be preferable.
Visit the kennel. A reputable kennel owner will let you inspect the premises and ask questions.
Look for clean cages, a pleasant odor, comfortable temperature, adequate lighting and the availability of fresh water. Be sure cages and runs are secure. Find out if animals have outside runs or if they are walked and if so, where.
Ask if there is a veterinarian on call and if someone stays on the premises after office hours. Look to see if cats and dogs are separated, and if the present boarders seem happy. CAPTION: Picture, no caption