Five frequently asked dog and cat questions for summer

Dear Editor: Do dogs and cats get sunburn? Some dogs get sunburn. Just like fair-skinned people, white haired dogs are sensitive to sun exposure. White cats and cats with white ears and noses are very susceptible to sunburn. So keep your cats and dogs inside more on very sunny days and talk to your veterinarian about the occasional use of sunscreens. Can I take my dog swimming? Not all dogs are good swimmers. Short-legged dogs, such as Corgis are very poor swimmers, but most dogs with long legs swim quite well. You’d be surprised just how well a Labrador Retriever swims. The point is, don’t take your dog swimming anyplace dangerous, where the current is too swift, or the boat traffic busy, or where if something went wrong you would both be in danger of drowning. Should I let my cat out at night? Many cats beg to go outside at night in the summer, even some cats that seemed very happy just to be in the house all winter long. But cats are at greater risk for disease and injury when they are outside, especially at night. If you feel you must let the cat go outside, be sure he’s up to date on all the vaccinations your veterinarian recommends for your cat. Do dogs and cats get heat stroke? Yes, they sure do. Don’t leave your pet in the car with the windows up. On really hot days, don’t lock your pet in the garage. Just remember, your dog and cat are as vulnerable as your children to the heat. If it’s hot, take it easy with your pet: play less, run less, cool off more often. What does my pet need to travel with me in the car? If your pet is a cat, he should be in a carrier for his safety and yours. It would be a tragedy, and ruin your vacation, if he ran away when you opened the door, or even the car window at a tollbooth. If your pet is a dog, he might wear a seatbelt harness. Both your dog and your cat should have collars with identification tags. You might also consider micro-chipping, which is permanent identification. You should also carry water and water bowls for them and some of the food they are used to eating. Medical records, including vaccination records, should be with you just in case you need to board your pet or have to take him to a veterinary hospital. New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association


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