The dog days of summer are no joke. The deadly heat wave currently hitting the South and Midwest has already resulted in heat warnings or advisories in many states—and taken the lives of more than a dozen people. The record high temperatures are now spreading to the East Coast.
Pet parents, it’s vital to remember that our companions, like people, can suffer from heat stroke. Please take these simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating.
Avoid dehydration by always having fresh, clean water available and lots of shady places where pets can cool off. When the weather’s extremely hot, keep your pets indoors.
Limit exercise to either early in the morning or late in the evening. Before starting your walk, give the sidewalk a test with the palm of your hand. If it’s too hot to touch, it can burn your pet’s footpads and should be avoided.
Bring outdoor pets inside, and give them access to air-conditioned areas of your home. For animals who must remain outside, provide a shady, sheltered place to rest and lots of fresh water in stable containers.
Never leave an animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—leading to fatal heat stroke within minutes.
Watch out for the following symptoms of overheating: excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Contact a veterinarian right away if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke.
Every year, thousands of young and healthy Greyhounds are euthanized because they are no longer deemed worthy racers. ASPCA staffer Lauren discusses adopting her Greyhound rescue, Lewis.
When my fiancé, Grant, and I began looking for a dog, we assumed that we would need to narrow our search to smaller breeds because of our NYC lifestyle. Having both grown up in the country, we were partial to larger breeds. On a whim, I searched for large-breed dogs that are suitable for apartment living. Much to our surprise, Greyhounds were the most recommended! It was my understanding that these dogs required extensive exercise, but as it turns out they have two speeds—45mph and sleeping.
The Search Begins For the next three weeks, Grant and I did nothing but research everything Greyhound related! The more we learned, the more we fell in love with the breed. We eventually found a rescue group that served NYC and got in touch with a wonderful volunteer named Linda. Two weeks later, she visited our apartment with a spotted, male Greyhound who had recently retired from the industry. While this gentle giant had some difficulty climbing the stairs to our apartment, once inside he had no problem exploring every inch—all 400 square feet!
Our Boy When Linda left that day, Grant and I looked at each other and without words knew we had found our dog. We called Linda the next day and arranged to pick him up. Being an avid (obsessive) Formula 1 fan, Grant decided to name our new dog Lewis after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver. Considering his retired profession, I found it quite fitting. When we got Lewis home, he quickly conquered the stairs and felt right at home in our modest Upper East Side apartment.
Today, Lewis is the absolute love of our lives. Because of his size and gentle nature, he has also become a bit of a celebrity in our neighborhood—working his way into the hearts of everyone he meets.
Think it's easy being a Pit? Not always. Pit Bulls are easily the most misunderstood and mistreated breed of dog. At many city shelters, they make up the majority of the canine residents—and often through no fault of their own.
Pits have a reputation for being vicious, and often fall into the wrong home environment because of it. When they don’t live up to their bad rap, many are dumped at the shelter. Despite their unfair reputation, Pit Bulls make very sweet and loyal family dogs. If you’re considering rescuing a Pit, here are some useful guidelines:
Trainwith love. All Pit Bull puppies and adults need gentle, consistent training. Pit Bulls may look tough on the outside, but they’re often extremely sensitive. Harsh training techniques are not appropriate or necessary.
Consider adopting an older Pit Bull. With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you'll be able to spot the characteristics you're looking for much more easily than with a puppy.
Please Spay or Neuter. Pit Bulls should be neutered or spayed. In addition to the health and behavioral benefits, neutering or spaying helps reduce the number of unwanted Pit Bulls who end up in shelters.
Take Action Be a Pit Bull ambassador—if you’re the proud parent of a Pit, please share your story in the comments section! For more information on adopting this special breed, visit our Ten Tips for Adopting a Pit Bull.
Every 10 seconds an animal is abused, and chances are it’s happening in your very own community. By creating a neighborhood watch group you can help crack down on animal cruelty and neglect. These tips will help get you started:
Build a Team. Get to know the animals in your neighborhood and invite your friends and neighbors to do the same. Together you can keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior, lost pets, etc.
Hold Monthly Meetings. Meetings can be held in a private home or local cafe. If your area is much bigger, you may need to obtain permission to use a school or church in the area.
Learn how to report animal cruelty. Every state is different. In some areas, the police department investigates animal cruelty; in others, that job falls to local animal control. If you aren't sure where to report cruelty, visit our Report Animal Cruelty section.
Work with local authorities. Tell your local humane organization, animal shelter and police department that you are starting a neighborhood watch program. Ask them to come on board with any tips!
Pay Attention! Is a bad situation getting worse? Have you seen a blatant act of animal cruelty? Are pets disappearing from your neighborhood? Don't turn your back. Rally your team and call the local authorities immediately.
Look Out for Wild Neighbors. Wild animals need protection, too. If you see anyone injure a wild animal, please report the incident. Wild animals are also often injured or killed by trash we throw away. Help implement a cleanup and recycling plan in your community.
The skies begin to darken. Your beloved dog begins to pant and pace around the house—her tail tucked between her legs. When the first crash of thunder hits, she bolts into the bathroom and curls up tightly in the tub. She remains there, trembling, until the storm passes.
Sound familiar? If your pooch is scared of thunderstorms, don’t worry! We have some stellar advice for helping her overcome this fear.
Human company often calms panicked dogs. If your calm, quiet touch brings comfort and security, take time to snuggle with your pet.
Try turning on some calming music, a TV or radio, or a fan to muffle storm noises. Shutting the drapes may also help if lightning frightens your dog. More active distractions may help, too. See if your dog will eat from a food-filled toy like a stuffed Kong, scatter treats in the house for him to find, or try playing tug with his favorite toy.
Invest in wellness products. There are a number of products on the market that may help your pup remain calm during storms, including close-fitting body wraps, noise-reducing headphones, herbal remedies and medications. Talk to your vet about options.
Make sure it’s not a medical condition. If your adult dog has suddenly become afraid of storms, please start with a visit to your vet. A sick dog may be more sensitive to sounds, and no amount of behavior modification will help if your dog’s fear is due to a medical condition.