Cook County Animal and Rabies Control urges pet owners to take special precautions to protect the health and welfare of their pets as the weather warms up.
“Everybody looks forward to the spring and summer, even our pets,” Dr. Donna Alexander, Administrator of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control said. “But all the festivities and the changes in weather mean pet owners need to take special care of their furry friends.”
Dr. Alexander has the following suggestions:
Keep pets on leash: Only let your dog off-lead in designated dog-friendly areas to protect both your dog and any children who are nearby. Children running, cycling or skateboarding can tempt an off-lead dog to chase them, and this can lead to bite incidents. In Cook County, 80 percent of dog bites occur in the summer. In addition, dogs may be tempted to chase squirrels and break free from their leads.
Do not leave your pet in a hot car: Even with the windows rolled down, studies have shown that 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.
Vaccinate your pets: Make sure that your dog is up-to-date on all shots, including canine influenza virus and rabies. For the 12th consecutive year, Cook County Animal and Rabies Control will be offering low-cost rabies vaccine clinics throughout the County.
Take care of your dog’s paws: Remember that asphalt and sidewalks are hotter than grass, and that a dog’s 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.