Dear Tracy Residents,

The summer heat and festivities are starting to commence! It is a great time to take trips to the beach, to go hiking, kayaking, boating, or even lounging in the backyard baby pool. Having a furry companion joining in on the fun is something that can be quite the rewarding experience.

With that being said, there are many things to consider for your pet’s safety during these hot summer months.

Something I think we can all agree on is that the Central Valley heat is very noteworthy each year. Just as we experience displeasure in the triple digits, our furry companions are no exception. Unless you have a hairless animal, they have a thick fur coat that they carry on them at all times.

Ensuring that every animal always has access to fresh water, preferably in the shade if outside, is required for all animals in the summer. Animals also need to have the ability to escape the penetrating sun. Having a shaded patio, a nice big tree, or a doghouse that isn’t in the direct sun light, are all things to keep in mind and prepare for this summer.

Walking and physical exercise seems to increase during the warmer months. With the increase in physical exercise and outings, also increases the chances of an animal being exercised and taken out. Staying cognizant of the time of day and temperature outside, is extremely important. The ground easily heats up to triple digits and can cause blisters and discomfort to a dog’s paws. If the ground is too hot to keep ones hand on for 15-20 seconds or causes discomfort, it then can be assumed that a canine walking or running outside will also cause them discomfort or pain.

Mornings are the best time to exercise or walk a dog during the summer months. Evenings are also a possibility; however, it is best to check the ground first to ensure it has begun cooling down.

Foxtails pop-up all over the Central Valley, especially in fields and on hiking trails. Remembering to thoroughly check your dog’s entire body; eyes, ears, mouth, between the toes, the paws, and all over their body, is necessary after letting them roam or run through an area where foxtails are present. Foxtails easily embed themselves in animals and then migrate through their body, causing serious infection that could result in the need of surgery.

The Animal Shelter has already begun to experience the foxtail problem, as a large foxtail was inside a poor baby kitten’s eye. Staff was able to catch the problem quickly and immediately help relieve this kitten of much discomfort.

Lastly, road trips and car rides with the furry companions are always commonplace while everyone is enjoying summer and their vacations. We, at Animal Services, would like to kindly remind our community that leaving your animal in a vehicle during hot summer days is considered inhumane. Even if an animal is left for a mere 10-15 minutes, the temperature in the vehicle can rise exponentially in that period and can cause devastating effects to an animal’s health.

Dogs and cats do not have sweat glands on their bodies. Panting is how animals lower their body temperatures, so if they are only breathing in hot air, they do not have the ability to lower their body temperature when in a vehicle that has no cool airflow. If at any moment, an animal is not able to exit the vehicle when its owners are going to exit the vehicle, it may be best to leave them at home for their own safety. Otherwise, making preparations to avoid that situation is necessary.

For any further animal-related information, additional resources, or if you just want to call and say hi, please contact us at 209-831-6364!

Until next time, you can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TracyAnimalServices or on Instagram at Tracy_Animal_Services.

• Brittany Pasquale is the City of Tracy Animal Services Supervisor. To learn more about the shelter at 2375 Paradise Ave. and animal resources – or to just say “hi” – call 209-831-6364 or contact Tracy Animal Services at AnimalServices@TracyPD.com or on Facebook and Instagram.

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