‘Heat, ticks and noise, oh my god!’ Protect furry friends from summertime threats – Greeley Tribune

A local pet expert advises owners not to “puff up” by taking preventive methods to protect their pets from the common dangers that come with the summer months.

From overexposure to heat, disease-carrying insects to anxiety from loud noises, those who work in the animal world encourage pet owners to plan ahead and keep life-saving tips in mind.

Sarah Morrill, director of marketing and development at the Weld County Humane Society, said the most common threat to pets in the summer is overheating and heatstroke.

In 2021, 59 dogs and other animal companions reportedly died from heat-related causes, according to PETA.

The first signs of overheating — excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, increased heart rate, and mild weakness — require pet owners to remove their animals from the heat immediately.

If these signs go unnoticed, an animal can collapse, have seizures and start throwing up or have diarrhea, Morrill said. Extreme signs prompt people to take their pets to an emergency room.

To avoid the dangers posed by the hotter temperatures, Morrill advises people to follow these preventative tips:

  • Owners should never leave their pets in a hot car, as temperatures can rise quickly in a confined space. Even on a day when temperatures are in the mid-60s, the temperature in a closed car can reach 130 degrees in a matter of minutes. At this rate, a dog’s death can occur within 15 minutes.
  • Pet owners should check if the concrete is hot to the touch. In this case, pets must be left at home.
  • Animals should be kept indoors and cool whenever possible.
  • People should leave their pets at home in the afternoon.
  • If a person wants to take their pet outside, make sure you bring plenty of water, walk them on the lawn, and know their limits.

“Overheating can happen quickly, and without paying attention to signs, it can be life-threatening for our animals,” Morrill said. “There are so many fun summer activities and we like to take our pets everywhere. However, the best of intentions could harm the health of our animals due to the heat.”

In northern Colorado, pets are also at high risk of being bitten by ticks and mosquitoes, which can spread diseases like Lyme disease and heartworm.

Colorado and the West are expecting higher numbers of ticks and mosquitoes this year, Morrill said, citing predictions from the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

“We’re seeing more bugs carrying diseases that can spread to our furry friends,” Morrill said. “One mosquito could mean months of difficult heartworm treatment.”

Because the state has a higher risk of Lyme disease from ticks and heartworm from mosquitoes, Morrill said prevention is the best solution to the summertime threat. Pets should be given flea and tick repellents as well as heartworm repellents.

“We recommend going to your vet before the summer to get your furry friends for a heartworm test if they aren’t on year-round preventative before beginning heartworm preventive measures,” Morrill said.

Summertime fun also brings excitement as thunderstorms, outdoor celebrations and fireworks bring loud noises that pose safety concerns for people’s four-legged friends.

Each year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center said it received an increase in calls about pets being affected by the sounds of fireworks.

Pet owners with heightened anxiety or fear of loud noises should take some preventive steps before noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms begin. ASPCA suggests:

  • Keeping pets indoors with the radio or television on. It also helps if animals are housed in an indoor space with no windows.
  • Try a fear vest or a fitted t-shirt.
  • Use of anti-anxiety medications prescribed by a veterinarian. Always do a practice dose of the drug to see how pets react prior to the actual fireworks event. Never share the medication with another pet or give more than the recommended amount.

Overall, one in five pets is missing after being startled by loud noises, the animal rights organization reported. After the July 4 fireworks display, Morril said stray animal numbers are skyrocketing in most communities, which is a factor in the explosion of animals entering through shelter doors in the summer.

Summer spikes for shelters

In February 2019, US animal shelters accepted 234,000 pets, according to Shelter Animals Count. A few months later, in May, data showed that over 363,000 animals were admitted to animal shelters. Many shelters are witnessing an increase as summer is the peak season for animals entering shelters.

At the same time, the peak comes with a drop in animal shelter adoptions across the country and state, including the Denver Animal Shelter, which faced capacity issues and last month reduced the adoption fee to $5 to find homes for animals.

The Dumb Friends League, a Colorado nonprofit that rescues animals, has locations in Denver, Castle Rock, and Alamosa that face a maximum capacity of animals. According to a Rocky Mountain PBS story, all three shelters reported exceptionally high populations of shelter dogs in April.

One reason attributed to the lack of pet adoptions during the summer months may be related to potential adopters waiting until after their summer trips to commit to a new family member, Morrill said.

This summer, Morrill said the Humane Society of Weld County was pleased to report that the increase in revenue at the shelter matches growth across the county.

Another development in the world of animal shelters is that larger dog adoptions have slowed across the United States, but the Morrill said it’s too early to say how that will affect the Humane Society of Weld County.

When someone is unable to adopt, Morrill encourages people in the community to provide foster care during the summer months to expand services and help animals that are spending extended periods in the program.

“Right now, 54% of our animals are in loving foster homes,” Morrill said. “As Weld County grows, so does the number of animals that need us. But our building is not growing.”

If anyone is interested in adopting or fostering animals, go to

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/06/24/heat-ticks-and-noises-oh-my-keep-furry-friends-safe-from-summer-threats/ ‘Heat, ticks and noise, oh my god!’ Protect furry friends from summertime threats – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

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