As we keep our family safe with sunscreen, and lots of fluids during the warmer months, we’ve must not forget our four legged family members.
All that sunshine can bring the need for some quick, easy safety precautions to help mitigate summer heat taking its toll on vehicles, drivers, passenger, and pets.
“The warm temperatures and busy holiday travel of summer put extra demands on both car and driver,” said CHP Com-missioner Joe Farrow. “Always buckle up, designate a sober driver, adhere to the speed limit, and avoid becoming distracted behind the wheel. With a little planning and preparation you will be able to reduce the risk of a tragedy occurring this summer.”
The CHP encourages motorists to take some simple steps to keep their car safe during the summer months:
- Check your vehicle’s radiator system. A significant number of summer breakdowns happen because a vehicle’s cooling system failed.
- Be sure your oil changes are current. Extreme temperatures can put more stress on an engine and dirty oil can cause damage or poor engine operation.
- Clean unnecessary items out of your car. Items like disposable lighters can explode in extreme heat or batteries can melt and leak hazardous materials.
- Carry a roadside emergency kit with fresh water, shelf-stable food, cellular telephone and charger, sunscreen, first-aid kit, properly-inflated spare tire, a tire inflation device or foam tire sealant, car jack and lug wrench, jumper cables, orange triangle or other emergency signal, multi-tool or basic tool kit, maps of your area and flashlight with extra batteries. Motorists can purchase roadside emergency kits at many retailers or create their own kit. For more information on assembling a road-side emergency kit visit: http://bit.ly/1iEBpIj
Never, under any circumstance, leave a child or pet in an unattended vehicle. A vehicle’s interior temperature can soar to triple digits in less than an hour, according to the National Weather Service. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200°F.
How about traveling with your dog in the bed of a pickup?
“Dogs should ride inside with the driver if they are not properly secured in the back of the pickup,” said CHP Officer, Kristen Murphy, “In minor collisions, a dog can become a dangerous projectile, or a can be a very dangerous road hazard if they happen to fall out of the pickup.”
According to the California Vehicle Code (231170): No person driving a motor vehicle shall transport any animal in the back of the vehicle in a space intended for any load on the vehicle on a highway unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail racks to a height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor, the vehicle has installed means of preventing the animal from being discharged, or the animal is cross tethered to the vehicle, or is protected by a secured container or cage, in a manner which will prevent the animal from being thrown, falling, or jumping from the vehicle.
However, some exceptions to this law do include the transportation of livestock, and the transportation of a dog for the purposes associated with ranching or farming.
If your beloved dog will be riding shotgun, it might be a good idea to have extra protection, such as a safety harness. A safety harness will not only provide peace of mind, but will help keep your dog in place. At the very least, your strapped in dog will be less of a distraction while you are driving, reducing your risk of getting into an accident in the first place. Alternatives to a safety harnesses, your dog can be protected in the car by using crates, barriers, fencing and screens.
Traveling with your pet isn’t an option, make sure you leave them with a friend or family member who will provide ample care while you’re away.
If you plan to leave your pet home, follow these easy tips to help ensure your beloved dog will be safe this summer:
Provide ample shade and water: Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. On the contrary to a recent viral Facebook posts; during heat waves, it is perfectly safe and beneficial to add ice to your dog’s water during a heat wave. Additionally, provide ample shade from tree’s or tarps, this method is ideal because it doesn’t obstruct air flow, unlike a doghouse that does not provide relief from heat — in fact, it makes it worse.
Watch the humidity: It is important to watch the ambient temperature, but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals release heat from their bodies by panting, if the humidity is too high, they may not be able to cool themselves as efficiently and their body temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels.
Watch for signs of heatstroke: Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, pro-fuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, and overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
How to treat a dog suffering from heatstroke? First, move your dog into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and pour cool (not cold) water over the chest or body of your dog. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly take your dog directly to a veterinarian.■