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Thursday
Apr142011

Hilton Head Summer Heat Precautions for Dogs

Hilton Head Island is home to a semi-tropical climate and the spring and summer months can be quite warm and humid.

It is very important to remember that our four-legged friends feel like they are wearing a fur coat during the warmer months and pet owners need to take special precautions during this time of the year to ensure our furry friends are cool, comfortable and healthy.

PET CARE TIPS FOR SUMMER MONTHS ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND:

 BEACHING IT

We all love to walk our dogs on the beach and that's perfectly fine, as long as you make sure you are aware of the new pet regulations for Hilton Head's beaches. Animals are not permitted on the beach between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. At all other times, pets must be on a leash, no longer than 6 feet or under positive voice control. Also a reminder that whether you are on the beach or not, local law requires owners to clean up after their pets and you are required to remove and properly dispose of your animal's waste...so don't forget your plastic bags!

DOGGY DANGERS IN THE SUMMER SUN
Although we love the summertime and long for hot, sunny beach days, Hilton Head's high temperatures and humidity cane create dangerous situations for our pets. Driving around town with a furry co-pilot can be fun, but your pup would likely be more comfortable lounging at home or in your nice vacation villa in the cool A/C.

If you do bring your pet along for a scenic tour of our beautiful Island, it is important to know that an animal can suffer a heat stroke within minutes when left inside of a hot vehicle - even when parked in the shade with a window cracked! This serious situation can cause the animal’s body temperature to rise to 107 degrees or more which causes swelling in the brain and destruction of internal organs.Should this unfortunate scenario occur, cool down the animal with cold water and immediately take him to a veterinarian.

Leaving an animal in an unattended hot vehicle isn’t only dangerous — it’s illegal. Beaufort County’s animal control ordinance defines the act as animal cruelty, and violations of the law can result in a fine of more than $1,000 or jail time.  If you see an animal in an unattended car on a hot day, you should call the local law enforcement officials before calling animal control. Most often, a local officer will be able to respond the fastest.

GOING FOR A WALK
Be sure to walk your dog in the morning and evening, avoiding peak temperatures in the afternoon. Also be careful to avoid hot surfaces such as sidewalks and asphalt, as they can burn the tender pads on a dog’s paws.

SPENDING TIME IN THE CAROLINA SUNSHINE
When your dog is out and about and enjoying the Carolina sunshine with you, always make sure you take along plenty of water and provide ample shade for the pooch.

The main conerns for pets spending time in the sun is heat exhaustion and believe it or not - sunburn and skin cancer! Like us, animals are very susceptible to sunburns, especially pets with light colored noses and fur or thin hair. In fact, you can purchase special sunscreen for dogs at your favorite pet store.

Be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Signs of heat stress include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue. If your pet does become overheated, cool down the animal with cold water and immediately take him to a veterinarian.

LOW COUNTRY CRITTERS THAT BITE
Hilton Head Island has warm temperatures and along with that comes a bevy of critters to our yards, neighborhoods and parks. Your pet can easily find themselves face to face with a venomous snake. Copperheads are the most common snakes that cause harn to dogs because theyr are the most numerous and aggressive snakes on the Island. Dogs tend to be bitten around the face, and pain and swelling occur almost immediately. If your dog is bitten by a snake, immediately take him to a veterinarian.