Testing the water. Taking the plunge. The water's fine! Maggie Schultz has her own pool where she keeps cool. The canine lifejacket allows her to swim more easily, keeping her face out of the water. Maggie, whose owners are Marianne and Scott Schultz, is a former Frisbee nut, but after she had surgery on her back legs, she had to give up the sport. Her owners bought a house with a pool so Maggie could get exercise without harming her legs.

Cool your pets

It seems like it gets hotter every summer. The Hawaiian Humane Society would like to remind pet owners to keep their pets cool and avoid heatstroke. Take the same preventative measures for pets as you do for your family. If you're hot and thirsty, so is your animal companion. Pay special attention to your fur-covered and feathered friends to keep them safe from summer heat.

It is important to keep fresh water constantly available. Outside dogs should have access to plenty of shade and a big water dish in a shady spot. Putting ice cubes in water dishes is a great way to quench their thirst. When you're away from home with your companion animal, always carry a water bottle or stop at a fountain to hydrate them. Portable water dishes also are handy. Make sure your pets don't get thirsty -- dehydration can kill them quickly.

Veterinarians recommend avoiding walking dogs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the hottest time of day. This is especially important for white or light-colored, short-haired dogs with sun-sensitive skin and black dogs with heat-absorbing fur. Rubbing sunscreen onto exposed areas, such as the ears and nose, may help to prevent sunburn and skin cancer, but it is a bit tricky to keep them from licking it off.

Walking during the early morning or evening helps avoid injuring your dog's delicate foot pads on blistering hot sidewalks, roadways and sand. Veterinarians also advise against short haircuts, even though this may seem like a logical way to keep cool. Pets' fur actually insulates them, trapping cool air on the skin's surface. It is nature's air-conditioning system.

Debbie O'Brien's cat Tinkerbell sits in a breezy spot out of the summer sun.

CATS SHOULD BE kept in cool houses during the summer. This means keeping windows open or running the air conditioner during the hottest times of day. An outdoor cat playhouse in the shade is another way for cats to keep cool, yet still be free to roam safely outdoors.

Rabbits are especially sensitive to heat. They, as well as other small animals, should be kept indoors or in a sheltered area out of direct sunlight. If possible, keep them where cool breezes continuously blow through their hutch.

For your pet bird, there's a different kind of summer hazard -- a rotating ceiling fan. Remember to turn off all your fans when your bird is outside his cage and flying around indoors.

Remember that pets receive twice as much exposure to heat compared to humans because of their horizontal body structure. They feel the heat directly on their backs and indirectly on their stomachs when the heat rises from the pavement. Consult your veterinarian for more tips to help your particular pets stay cool during summer.

Leaving a pet in a closed car -- even for a few minutes with the windows slightly open -- is one of the most common ways that heatstroke occurs. The temperature inside a car sitting in the sun can reach oven-like extremes in just a few minutes. Sitting in a hot car can cause your pet to sustain permanent brain damage. So don't travel with your pet when running errands or when you may have to park in the sun.

A dehydrated or overheated animal may pant heavily, slobber, vomit and possibly experience diarrhea, seizures or coma. If you observe these symptoms, soak your pet with water and seek veterinary attention immediately.

Unless you are going to the veterinarian's office or the dog park, it's better if you leave your pets at home.

KT Haase is publication coordinator for the Hawaiian Humane Society. "Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is a nonprofit agency dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. They are at 2700 Waialae Ave. Call 946-2187.

More pet tips

» When the sun goes down, another danger appears for pets, especially dogs -- Bufo marinus, or cane toads. Don't allow your dog to play with these big, slow toads.

Biting the toad releases toxins that can poison your pet. If biting occurs, wipe the toxic secretions off the dog's gums and teeth, rinse its mouth, then seek veterinary attention quickly.

» Paws on the Path meets at the end of each month for a cool morning hike for dogs and owners, led by a Hawaiian Humane Society volunteer. Call 946-2187, Ext. 217, for information.

» McInerny Dog Park at the humane society has a waterfall and pond for four-legged swimmers. Visit noon to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays. Bring a towel. Visit 1 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 2 and 9, you'll find Hawaii Doggie Bakery distributing free dog biscuits as part of its "Pounds for Hounds" service program. They'll also distribute biscuits at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 2, 9 and 16 at the Bark Park near Diamond Head, and 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively at McInerny and the Bark Park, Aug. 23 and 30. For details, call the bakery at 521-7297.

» The humane society offers brochures with pet first-aid tips. Call 946-2187, Ext. 223, or visit

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.


E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --