Letter to the Editor: Make your pets a priority
July 10, 2013
I would like to thank everyone who put on the Red, White and Tahoe Blue event last weekend. It was wonderful to spend the day in the hot sun, walking around and being educated about the environment, issues concerning health care and seniors, animal issues and other interesting endeavors.
I did notice a lot of hot dogs that day and not many water bowls available for them, and there was little shade, especially for the Dress Up Your Dog event. So I would like to extend a recommendation to all the dog owners who are visiting Tahoe, as well as the residents who live here year round who have dogs: Please keep in mind that your dog cannot regulate its body temperature the way humans do.
There are current warnings and bulletins that are sent around the internet all the time, yet I constantly see people and their dogs walking on hot pavement, standing in the hot sun on the grass talking to their friends in their tank tops (perfectly comfortable) while their dogs are panting trying not to overheat.
When I mention that they might want to put their dogs in the shade, they say "oh he's all right." As a canine behaviorist and a person who has spent most of my life trying to help animals, I would hope that people would want their dogs not to be just "all right," but cool, comfortable and healthy.
Remember, overheating for just a short time can cause brain injury as well as injury to their internal organs. If 15-20 minutes of intense overheating can cause death, think about what that same amount of time standing in the hot sun can do. Please feel the pavement with your hand or bare foot each time you walk your dog on hot days and if it's hot, wait until it cools down.
If you want to stand and talk to your friends, ask them to move into the shade so your dog can be comfortable. Too many dogs suffer and die when we are not aware of their discomfort. Never leave them in a car, even in the shade, on a hot day. Soon the car is in the sun and leaving the window open a few inches does not allow the car to cool off and the temperatures in the car can soar very quickly.
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