“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi
By Sue KILPATRICK
Summer evenings make up for the discomfort of a hot summer day. Humans and canines alike will attest to this fact. The sun goes down, temperatures cool, it’s light until 8 p.m. and night creatures (after resting all day) begin to come out. Golden Retrievers don’t quite fit into this “wild animal” category, but Abby apparently disagrees.
Failing to resist her pleading brown eyes as they glance between us and her leash hanging by the door, off we go. Our route changes little, but always includes visits with neighbors and their dogs. This almost nightly walk often ends in the dark.
Last night as we returned home, a very healthy-looking coyote came running down our driveway and across the street. Abby tried to convince us that it might be fun to stay out a little longer and play. As we held her back, I was hoping the neighborhood cats and small dogs were safe. This incident was a reminder that summertime presents many dangers to our pets, although most of them are weather related. August is normally the hottest month and this week was no exception, as daytime temperatures reached 100 and nights stayed in the 70s.
The pet owners in the CV area tend to be a pretty pet-savvy bunch, so I’ll try to direct my attention to the more unusual information pertaining to summer heat and our furry friends. It would not be responsible though, unless I mentioned to always have fresh water available inside and outside and never leave an animal unattended in a vehicle.
The following are a few situations and ideas perhaps you have not thought about or do not know about.
1. Dogs and cats sweat from their paw pads and noses, so panting is their main way to cool down. Early morning or evening walks are advisable.
2. Beware of barbecues and fire pits. The smells are tempting, but the danger of burns and illness from eating fatty meat can result. Also the ingesting of corn cobs, avocado seeds and skewers can happen at outdoor meals.
3. Watch your kitty around open windows. Cats fall out windows so often that vets have a term for it: “high-rise syndrome.” This is no joke – broken bones and death are common.
4. Water can be dangerous. To prevent drowning, we taught Abby to swim to the pool steps to get out of the pool. Also visits to lakes and rivers require close supervision and a vaccination against Giardia (a parasite found in the water).
5. Rattlesnake bites (vaccine available), bee stings, black widow bites, tangles with raccoons, possums and other dogs are more prevalent during the summer.
6. Restrain your dog in the car. Try to keep windows up – dogs can fall or jump out and also blowing debris gets into eyes.
And a few added hazards: hot asphalt, citronella candles, alcoholic drinks and garden insecticides/fertilizers.
Thank you Pat Schoenrock, certified dog trainer, for the above information.
Our weather is expected to remain the same. Hot! Oh, but the evenings …
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta
Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at