BEND, OR -- While tradition calls for fun at the 4th of July Pet Parade, precautions are necessary for pets and people. Parade host Bend Parks and Rec and the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) want parade participants’ pets to remain healthy and safe.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the Pet Parade. Organizers ask that your pet remains on a leash and that you clean up after your pet. Do not bring rabbits, cats or aggressive animals. Large animals need to arrive early and equestrians should wear a helmet. Be prepared to adapt your parade plans. Some considerations include bringing a stuffed animal instead, using a wagon to pull your pet or, if needed, leaving the parade route if your pet demonstrates intolerance towards the heat.
“We all know the dangers of leaving a pet in a hot car, but there are heat concerns when our pets are outdoors,” said Crystal Bloodworth, DVM, of the Humane Society of Central Oregon. “Dogs need to pant to cool themselves, as they do not sweat. This isn’t always enough, however, as cool water and shade can help. Paying attention to your pet while outdoors in the heat is critical to ensuring a fun day for everyone.” said Dr. Bloodworth. Senior, obese, short muzzled dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, etc.) and long-haired breeds are discouraged in extreme heat. Another concern in high temperatures is hot asphalt which can cause damage to paw pads.
Tips for keeping your pet comfortable at the Pet Parade include:
- Before and after the parade, find a cool, shaded place to rest.
- Do not arrive too early: staging begins at 9:00 am; the parade starts at 10:00 am.
- Bring plenty of cool water for you and your pet. Water will be available at parade staging area and HSCO will provide water en route – just look for the orange flags.
- Allow dogs to cool off in the water pools at the staging area.
- Get creative and place your pet in a shaded, decorated stroller or wagon to keep them off of the hot asphalt.
- Watch for signs of your pet’s paw pads overheating or soreness - picking-up paws, seeking shade and avoiding walking by sitting or lying down.
- Do not leave your pet in the car, not even for a few minutes.
- Learn to recognize the signs of heat stroke: Faster, heavier panting; excessive thirst and/or drooling with hanging strands of saliva; whining or signs of agitation; decreased responsiveness; glassy eyes; increased pulse/ heartbeat; elevated body temperature and staggering, weakness, collapse, seizures and/or unconsciousness.
- If your pet shows heat-related symptoms, immediately go to a shaded area or a dog-friendly business that may let your dog cool in the air conditioned store so you can assess your pet’s condition.
If you think your pet will be challenged by warm temperatures, BPRD and the Humane Society of Central Oregon encourage you to leave your pet at home.
Should you need any emergency veterinary services over the holiday weekend, there are two emergency animal clinics in Bend, Bend Animal Emergency Center and Specialty Center (541 385-9110) and Veterinary Referral Center (541 210-9200) or call your veterinarian.
For additional information on the Pet Parade, visit www.bendparksandrec.org.