Keeping Pets Safe When It’s Hot

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At John Knox Village, our residents are proud owners of over 60 dogs, 90 cats and even a few birds (not the various waterfowl that call our community their home permanently or temporarily).

It’s a proven fact that pet owners who are seniors show reduced high blood pressure levels, less anxiety and live longer.

For Village Towers resident Anna Walker, her three cats – Tiger, Twinkle Toes and Midnight – are her “children.” “Even though I live alone, I am never lonely. Each of my cats takes turn sitting on my lap, especially when I enjoy watching my favorite shows,” she said.

Villa resident David Jenkins discovered Pumpkin, his beautiful Pomeranian friend at a rescue shelter. “She had been abandoned, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to abandon a dog like her,” he said. Now, more people recognize Pumpkin before even saying “Hello” to David.

For Pierre “Pete” and Karen Audet, they love having their 11-year-old Schnauzer “Sebastian” at John Knox Village. According to Pete, Sebastian came to the family about six years ago. “He was a mess with fleas and was dirty. However, once he was cleaned up, we realized we had found a great pet,” he said.

Since moving to John Knox Village, Sebastian has grown fond of exploring our 65-acre campus with the Audets and especially loves the smells of the grass and variety of botanical flora.

Cosmo is resident Russell Brandon’s 14-year-old terrier mix. Russell had been taking care of his mother and knew someone who volunteered to walk dogs at an animal rescue. “They had explained there was a cute, little black dog up for adoption,” he said. “When I arrived, they showed me the wrong dog – which was actually Cosmo.”

That was about seven years ago. Now, Cosmo is one of the stars of the Annual Howl-A-Ween Pet Parade that is held at the end of October. Last year, he was dressed up in a hot dog costume.

With the hot summer months upon us, the Village Voice wanted to provide some helpful tips for all pet owners to provide superb care of their furry or feathered friends:

Cool Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy This Summer

Humans have the “luxury “of perspiring to keep cool during hot weather. A nice breeze over your wet skin has a cooling effect that keeps you somewhat comfortable. However when it comes to your dog: “Rover” does not have the same benefit.

According to the Website (, “Dogs cool themselves primarily by the process of panting and breathing, with the moist lining of their lungs serving as the evaporative surface.” This summer keep a few things in mind while enjoying the weather and the companionship of your dog while out and about.

Plan to Visit Your Veterinarian for Summer Health Tips

A trip to your veterinarian is always a good start for a summer “doggie” tune-up. Your vet can check the overall health of your pet and give you recommendations for safe exercise, proper care and cooling tips during the hot summer months.

Provide Ample Shade and Water

When your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. Add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow.

NEVER Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car

An animal’s body temperature can rise in just seconds causing heat related problems. Normal body temperature for dogs and cats is 101-103 degrees.

Keep Walks to a Minimum

Your pet is much closer to the hot asphalt and his body can heat up quickly. Consider walking on the grass AND walk early morning or later in the evening whenever it is possible.

Here are additional ideas from the Humane Society Website: (

“Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak.

“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, profuse 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, 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.”

Use caution and common sense with your pet this summer. Just think how it would feel if you were walking about in 90 degree weather wearing a fur coat. Have plenty of cool fresh water, get in the shade, take short walks and stay off the hot pavement.

Additional information for summer weather pet tips can be reviewed online at: (; (; and (

Marty Lee, Word of Mouth Advertising