Heat and fireworks that mark the summer months can create special problems for pets.
Dr. Tom Wake, interim administrator of Cook County’s Animal and Rabies Control, urges pet owners to make sure their pets receive rabies vaccinations.
He also provides the following important seasonal recommendations and precautions:
- The Fourth of July is especially stressful for animals. Fireworks can cause even the best-trained dog to panic. If you are aware of your animal's anxiety, seek veterinary advice on helping your pet to cope prior to July 4. Provide a cool, dark space for your anxious pet and soothing noises such as a radio to counteract the sporadic noise of the fireworks.
- Dogs often instinctively chase children who are running, on bicycles or on skateboards. Dog owners should make sure that their pet is on a strong leash or properly secured behind an impenetrable fencing system over which his/her head cannot extend. The greatest number of bites by dogs to children occurs during the summer months.
- Dogs should not be left in cars if the ambient temperature exceeds 78 degrees even if the windows are left open. The temperature in a car can go from 78 degrees to 115 degrees in 15 minutes even with windows open.
- Water bowls must be filled more than once a day. Water evaporates in high heat so animal water bowls, whether inside or outside, must be refilled often.
- Dogs must be provided with shelter against the sun if they are left outside. All animals tethered outside must be provided housing, water and food.
- Household cats should be vaccinated against rabies and should not be allowed to roam free. Their chances of having interaction with wildlife are three times greater than dogs.
- Wildlife is the major source of rabies and the wildlife population has been increasing. Bats remain the most prolific source of rabies in Illinois. If you see a bat inside of your home, contact local municipal authorities or, if you live in an unincorporated area, call Cook County Animal Control at (708) 974-6140.
- Be vigilant that your pet does not pick up food off the ground. People will often discard food products that may be harmful to pets along their normal walking route. Keep dogs on short lead to prevent them from eating such things as chicken bones or corn cobs which could be deadly.
The County’s dozens of clinics offer pet owners a convenient and low-cost way to ensure the health of their animals.
The clinics offer a one-year rabies shot for $7 and a three-year rabies shot for $21. Insertion of a microchip is $10. Only cash or checks are accepted, no credit or debit cards. The rates represent a substantial discount from what is normally charged for these services at private veterinarians. The rabies shot is the only vaccine that will be provided at the clinics.
“The clinics address a serious public health issue,” Dr. Wake said. “If your dog or cat is bitten by a rabid animal, this shot will prevent your pet from getting rabies and passing it on to other animals or to humans.”
Having a microchip implanted in a household pet significantly increases the chance that it can be reunited with its owner if it is ever lost or stolen, he added.
Since 2006, Cook County’s mobile clinics have provided rabies vaccinations to more than 45,000 animals.
Rabies and microchip clinic schedules are available on our website.