Tag Archives: weather

There’s no Lifting Like Snow Lifting! 3 Tips for Safer Lifting no Matter the Weather

After a nightly snowfall, I awake to the sound of ice getting scraped off of someone’s windshield. Like clockwork, it hits 7:20 a.m. and whoever owns that car is out scraping. Most mornings I would much rather wake up to the sound of my alarm at the time I actually set it to, but I have to respect the dedication to be outside in the freezing cold to clear off their car. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about shoveling snow from a driveway or carrying a big heavy bag of de-icer. My only gripe with snow is that scrape scrape scrape sound directly beneath my window.

Many Americans are not so lucky and do have to get up and out the door early in the morning to clear the sidewalk or walkway. Shoveling snow may not sound that strenuous, but across the country, thousands are injured every year with this winter task. There’s also plenty of other heavy lifting to do in the winter: a tree branch that falls into the yard and must be moved, snow tires, even tired children wearing 5 extra pounds of layers (not including snow boots).

Whether you live in a region of the U.S. where snow removal is a daily occurrence or a warmer area where it hasn’t snowed in years, proper lifting techniques can help you stay safe while completing household tasks, yard work or snow damage control. To help you remember safety first when lifting, especially in winter weather, keep these tips in mind…

Let It Snow Shovel
If your biggest concern for throwing out your back is that blanket of snow outside your front door, have no fear. Try to start while the snow is still fresh, because snow is lighter and easier to maneuver when it has recently fallen. Before stepping outside, be sure to warm the muscles just like you would before exercising. Once you start, work with small batches, using a small shovel or only filling half of a large shovel. Once you fill up your shovel with an appropriate amount of snow, walk it over to your snow pile; do not throw it! Throwing snow can put unnecessary pressure on your back.

Dress For Success
If the weather outside is frightful, layer up before lifting anything outdoors. The goal is to be able to remove layers when your temperature rises from the physical movement, but keep enough clothing on that you won’t freeze standing in your driveway. A windbreaker or light jacket over a sweatshirt and a long sleeve shirt may give you the flexibility to move freely without compromising warmth. Even if the weather is perfectly comfortable outside, be sure to wear non-slip shoes before lifting anything heavy.

Proper Positioning
So maybe you’re one of us lucky ones who gets to avoid snow shoveling, but what about all the other heavy lifting that could come up? Your best strategy is to make sure your body is moving in the correct way. Use your legs, never your back, and bend at the knees with a wide stance. Try to get a firm grip by lifting with your palms, not your fingertips (which will slip more easily). When moving, avoid twisting your spine, and attempt to turn your whole body by using your feet instead. This will keep your back in a safer, more neutral position to prevent injury.

If something looks like it might be too big, or you start to lift it and it feels too heavy, STOP! Wait until someone can assist you in lifting. It’s better to wait 5 minutes to move that branch than to have 5 days of a sore back. Taking your time is the key to safe lifting no matter the weather.

As for me, I’m glad I don’t have to shovel snow, but I sure hope the sky stays clear and the streets dry on the next day I plan to sleep in–and I won’t be woken up by the urban rooster crow of an ice scraper.

Stay Warm—and Safe—with These 6 Ride Sharing Tips for Uber and Lyft

With no end in sight to this winter’s cold and icky weather, sometimes that walk to the grocery store or bus ride to work just doesn’t seem worth it. With ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft becoming commonplace (even in our very small town), more and more people are calling up cars with their smartphones.

As with all new technology, some people are more wary of it than others, but they have good cause to be, and scary Uber driver stories get shared all over social media. But these six tips below will help you stay safe.

  1. Keep your rating high and you’ll get a safer driver. A rider with a 4.9 rating won’t get a driver with a 4.4 rating, so you’re getting a safer driver. To keep that high rating, be ready to head out the door as soon as possible when you call your car. Make sure that your coat and shoes are on, your tab is paid, or your bag is packed. Forcing a driver to wait could give you a bad rating or even cause them to drive off after 2-5 minutes.
  2. Check the license number on your phone and make sure your car’s plates match. Your driver will understand if you take a few seconds to peek at the back of their car to make sure you’re getting in the right one.
  3. Speaking of, make sure this is actually your car! I have watched people hop into the back of my Uber or Lyft and travel a few feet before the car stops and they sheepishly hop back out. Your driver will know your name, so ask who the car is for before actually climbing inside.
  4. Some drivers provide water, snacks, candy and even phone chargers for their passengers. This is courteous and can really bump them up to a 5-star rating! If you do accept, do not consume anything that is not 100% sealed and untampered with. When in doubt, just politely decline.
  5. Use the app’s features to increase your safety factor. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have tons of great ways to be informed about every aspect of your ride. Check the wait time before the car arrives, send an ETA to a friend so they’ll know your whereabouts, tip your driver ahead of time to prevent delays, or even learn how many rides your driver has done. If using UberPool or a Shared Lyft, you can also check where your driver is picking up and/or dropping off the other passengers so you’re aware of your surroundings at all times.
  6. This isn’t a safety tip, but some rider etiquette that could help your rating: Talk to your driver! Ask how their day is going, when they started driving, etc. If they don’t seem interested in a conversation, you don’t have to push it, but you can at least treat your driver like another human being and try to interact. Do not be one of those rude people who sits in the backseat on their phone acting like the driver isn’t even there.

Our world is changing and evolving every day because of technology. You can order food through Uber, online retailers now offer same-day delivery, and some phones can unlock by just using your face. With all this rapid change, it can be tough to stay on top of staying safe—but safety is always worth the effort. Always.

Kids Stuck Inside on a Snow Day? Check Your Home for Hazards

As many schools’ winter breaks come to an end, children are heading back to their classrooms and out of the house. But even with school back in session, some states can have up to 50 days of weather-related school closures. So on days when the weather is too crummy to even play outside, how can little ones stay safe indoors with all that bottled up energy?

If your young children are stuck inside on a snow day, here are some safety tips to keep in mind while preparing for their time off from school:

Slipping or falling opportunities
Cabin fever could mean your kids are more rambunctious than usual, which could mean running inside the house (even if they aren’t supposed to). Look around your home for anything that might present a tripping or falling hazard, such as area rugs, cords or even corners of furniture. Also remind your kids about the dangers of horseplay on furniture, since a fall from a table or sofa would be worse than from their own two feet.

Falling objects
If falling children isn’t a concern, check for any potentially falling objects. Any heavy objects like televisions or stereos should be securely fastened to a wall or stand. Other hazards to scan your rooms for are objects that could be bumped into and broken if they fell, like vases or picture frames.

Hot water in cold weather
With dropping temperatures, your heat could be on all day and all night, posing a potential problem for kids out of sight. Try to keep an eye on little ones around hot water heaters, radiators, and even stoves and microwaves. Children are most likely to be scalded by hot water in drinks or baths, so be sure to be mixing cold water into anything too hot.

Even when your kids are stuck inside at home, they can be just as safe as if they were back in their classroom. When in doubt, if you think your child might get into something they shouldn’t, assume they will and prevent it. Whether the weather is stormy or snowy, wet or simply your typical winter, check your home for these hazards to ensure your child’s safety. Maybe tomorrow it will only be a late arrival instead of a whole day off…

Winter Storms Are Coming–Have You Checked the Roof?

Even though the holiday season is over, winter only started a month ago. While some areas have been experiencing a milder winter than usual, we still have a long stretch to get through until we can put away our snow tires and heavy coats. The storm that hit the Midwest and moved East last week caused hundreds of thousands of homes to lose power. Central Missouri reported up to 17 inches of snow!

Those of us outside the Midwest might not be so concerned with winter storms, but are you and your house protected in the event of one coming through your region? Because your roof is prone to damage during winter weather, the time to fix any existing issues and prevent any future problems is now.

Here are four ways to check for signs of damage or potential damage:

Clean Your Roof
Prevention starts with cleaning. If you have a dry day to check out your roof, look for clogged gutters or loose shingles. Leaving leaves or other debris in your gutter can block water from flowing through and cause ice dams when the temperature drops below freezing. And if frozen temperatures aren’t your concern, clogged gutters still leave a buildup of water that can cause rust and other water damage. This is also the time to replace any loose shingles, as shingles are your roof’s protection against water, and you don’t want them blowing away in the next storm!

Trim the Trees
This is a risk to check for whether the weather is dry or not. Look to see if there are any tree branches (or trees!) that could fall onto the roof under the weight of snow, rain or ice. Branches could also bend lower under a heavy weight, touching the roof. Trees and branches that fall during a storm can damage the surface and the structure of your roof, so clear away any that could cause problems later on.

Fix Faulty Flashing
If wet weather is more of a concern than snow and ice, then flashing around anything on your roof is at risk. Loose flashing can–and will–let water in. Now is a good time to check for flashing on other areas of your home too, to make sure everything is secure and watertight.

Examine Your Attic
There are two ways your attic can help with winter weather protection: ventilation and water damage. If your attic is cool and well ventilated, it can prevent snow from melting and creating ice dams. Also check for any water damage visible in the attic, such as mold or damaged insulation. This could be a sign of leaks in your roof and needs to be repaired before a big storm comes rolling through.

Winter roof protection might mean no spring roof repairs, leaving you more time for fun spring cleaning around your home. Just kidding! But it can save you time and money by preventing any major problems from arising. So give your roof a check-up, grab a warm beverage, and try to stay dry and warm until April finally arrives…

Shocking Survey Results: 60% of Us Are not Prepared for a Disaster

Why are we so ill-prepared for disasters in the U.S.? This isn’t just anecdotal. A new survey by Farmers Insurance shows how many of us are vulnerable to a natural disaster, due to lack of planning alone.

For National Preparedness Month last month, Farmers Insurance conducted a survey and published the results as both a list of findings and a planning resource. Among the shocking statistics, Farmers Insurance learned:

  • 70% of people living in the U.S. have experienced some kind of natural disaster.
  • One-third of those say they’ve been in a hurricane.
  • 60% of households do not have an emergency plan in place in case of a natural disaster.
  • 55% of people living in the U.S. don’t have an emergency kit.
  • 35% of those who do have an emergency kit and are pet owners don’t have any pet supplies in their emergency kit.

The results of that survey gave me a jolt because I fall into the “don’t have” category every time. We haven’t discussed emergency planning around here since we became empty nesters, which makes no sense, but is sadly true. So I am more than ready to tackle the emergency plan and kit as outlined in the document.

Your emergency plan
Are you also ready to get prepared? If so, the following suggestions offered by Farmers Insurance should help you develop your emergency plan for starters:

  • Know how you’ll receive emergency alerts. If the power goes out, as well as the Internet, how will you stay informed? A hand-powered or battery operated radio might be in order.
  • Know your evacuation route and shelter plan. If you have to evacuate, where will you go? Think about which roads might or might not be open in the event of a disaster. For us, for example, we really need to figure that out because we are three miles down a dead-end road. We could easily be cut off and unable to evacuate without a plan. If you have pets, research pet-friendly shelters ahead of time.
  • Know how you’ll get in touch with each other. Make sure everyone in the family has phone numbers memorized or written down in case a cell phone is lost and you can’t access your contacts. Then consider choosing a friend or family member who lives outside of the area as the contact point in case you can’t get in touch with each other.
  • Know where you’ll meet. If one person is at work and another at school and a third at home, and when disaster hits, meeting at home won’t be an option, where will you meet instead?

Your emergency kit
If you need to evacuate, you will need a grab-and-go emergency kit that you can take with you at a moment’s notice. Farmers Insurance recommends your kit include:

  • Water
  • Drinking water tablets
  • First aid kit
  • Canned food and can opener
  • Blankets, preferably the space saving emergency kind
  • Warm clothes
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Medication
  • Dust mask
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Bleach
  • Baby items such as diapers and baby food
  • Pet items such as food, water bowl and leash
  • Hygiene products such as tissues and hand wipes
  • A plastic bucket in case toilets aren’t available
  • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Multifunctional axe/knife
  • Whistle
  • Trash bags
  • Small tent
  • Cooking stove, fuel and pot
  • Heavy gloves
  • Shovel
  • Rope
  • Wrench
  • Cash
  • Copies of important documents
  • Phone numbers

You can see the full list here. Note that most of these items are things you should have on hand, even if you don’t need to evacuate. So have this stuff handy regardless, okay?

Are you one of the 60%?
The year 2017 was the costliest ever, with natural disasters causing $306 billion worth of damage. As we near the end of 2018, it seems we had an easier year, but one thing is for certain: Natural disasters will always be a threat. We can’t do anything about that or the destruction they will do, but we can take steps to keep ourselves and our families safe by preparing ahead of time. And according to Farmers Insurance, 60% of us need to get our acts together and get ready!

Wary of Winter Driving? You Should Be! Here’s Help…

Although our part of the country is going through an extremely mild winter (as in little snowpack which will probably lead to water issues this summer), other parts of the country are getting the usual blasts of arctic air and bouts of heavy snowfall. Since winter weather has to be extreme to get people to stay home, plenty of us are out there driving no matter the road conditions. And that’s dangerous.

According to reporting by USAToday.com, over 4,000 Americans have died in winter-related car crashes in the past five years. In fact, car accidents kill more people than weather disasters, and commonsense says accidents are more likely when visibility is bad and roads are slick.

We are all about safety and security at SafeStreetsUSA, and that includes watching out for you while you’re on the road. So we compiled some tips for you for safer winter driving, based on advice offered by AAA…

Before you leave the house
The best way to be ready for winter driving is to be prepared ahead of time. Take time to see to these things long before you grab your keys and coat:

  • Stock your car with things you might need in an emergency, such as blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and medication. Also carry something brightly colored in case you get stuck. (Find more advice here.)
  • Avoid driving while tired. Your reaction time won’t be as good should you need to avoid an accident.
  • Make sure your car is well maintained, and your tires are properly inflated. Or, as we like to say, make sure your car is trip worthy. This is sound advice all year long, but especially in the winter when being stranded will be a bigger challenge.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full. This is in part to avoid your gas line freezing, but it’s also sound advice for being prepared for adversity.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, especially before a long-distance drive or driving in an isolated area. If you can’t postpone a trip, make sure someone knows your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.

While you’re on the road
Once you’ve left the house or work, follow this advice to be a safer winter driver:

  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, whether it’s snow, ice, excess water or sand that’s making it slippery.
  • Accelerate slowly so your tires get a chance to grip the road when the surface is slick.
  • Decelerate slowly because it will take you longer to slow down, and hitting the brakes is a good way to go into a skid on winter roads. You know the stoplight is ahead of you. Anticipate it.
  • That said, be extra careful of other drivers who might hit their brakes hard. Keep your distance just in case.
  • Drive slowly. (Are you picking up on the “slowly” theme here?) Yes, accelerate and decelerate slowly, but also take your turns with care, and be more deliberate and cautious.
  • Take it slow and steady when going uphill, rather than trying to power up the hill. Otherwise, you might set your wheels spinning. Build some inertia on the flat before you get to the hill instead. You want to start your descent slowly too. This will help.
  • AAA says to brake by keeping the heel of your foot on the floor and using the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Try not to come to a complete stop. It’s harder to get going again when roads are slick. This is particularly true on hills, so if you’re going uphill, keep on going even if you have to crawl along to avoid stopping.

If you get stuck
If you get stuck, you’ll be glad you packed emergency supplies in your car! But also follow this advice:

  • Stay with your car. It’s your shelter from the storm, and it’s easier for rescuers to spot because it’s bigger.
  • Walking away from your car in a storm can mean losing sight of it. Don’t do it.
  • Don’t over exert yourself trying to push or dig your car out of the snow. A little effort is okay, but save your strength.
  • If you need rescuing, tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna during the day. At night, keep your dome light on if possible.
  • If you have to, run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill but try to conserve gasoline. Also make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow or ice because that could cause carbon monoxide to get into the car when the engine is running.

However, the absolute best advice for driving in winter weather is to stay home. Despite all of your precautions, you’re at the mercy of the weather and the other drivers, who might not be as cautious or prepared as you are. Wouldn’t you rather stay in, wait out the storm, and avoid the worry altogether?

4 More Safety Habits to Develop for a Safer 2018 for Your Whole Family

Although 2017 was full of terrifying headlines and it would be hard to say which was the most alarming, one point remains clear: We need to be ready for anything. This past year brought us the Equifax data breach that compromised the personal information of almost half the U.S. population, hurricanes that devastated parts of the U.S. (leaving Puerto Rico without power seven months later), wildfires in southern California that led to deadly mudslides, and nuclear threats from North Korea, to name only a few of the biggest news events. Consider all of these events together, and I think we can agree that we are vulnerable in more ways than one…which always brings us back to safety and security.

Adding to last year’s list of safety habits
A year ago, we wrote about developing nine safety habits for a new year—habits that would become exactly that, meaning actions that you did without thinking. Among them, we included locking doors and windows, changing passwords, deterring burglars, being smarter about social media use, staying, and protecting yourself from identity theft among others.

We still recommend you review this list and stick with each of these until they do become habits. But now that it’s 2018, after the tumultuous year we’ve endured, we’d like to add to last year’s list, taking the total from nine to 13 with these safety habit additions…

Safety habit 10: Start now with the wee ones
Start teaching your kids safety habits as soon as you can. You’ll find a list of age-appropriate ideas here, but what you teach them matters less than teaching them to think safety first, with good habits from the start.

Safety habit 11: Take even more steps to protect yourself from data breaches
After the Equifax data breach—which admittedly was only one of many but was probably the most far-reaching—we want to re-emphasize the importance of protecting your identity and information online. Although you can take steps after a data breach, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so minimizing your risk is critical—especially since you can’t do away with that risk completely in the world we live in today. Find ways to minimize your risk here, and make each of these a habit too.

Safety habit 12: Beef up your home information security
Make home information security as high a priority as your physical home security, by reviewing this advice with your whole family, and adhering to it.

Safety habit 13: Stay healthy
Protect yourself from illness. We’ve heard rumors that this flu season will be particularly bad. Whether it’s you or your kids (or your whole household), you don’t want anyone sick, in part because there are financial implications with missed workdays and in part because the flu can escalate and even be deadly. So definitely make good hygiene and healthy living into habits for 2018! You’ll find advice for avoiding illness here.

If all that sounds like a lot of work—adding four more safety habits to the nine we assigned to you last year—here’s an easy way to boost your safety and security in 2018: Upgrade your home security system. The past year has exposed more of our vulnerabilities, but—at the same time—technology has enhanced our ability to keep our homes and families safe, from burglars yes, but also from floods, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Today’s home security systems can be controlled remotely and offer video doorbells. They will work even if the power goes out. And they can become a home automation system that lets you control heat and lighting automatically or from afar as well.

Not that the 13 safety habits we’re recommending shouldn’t also be part of your new year! Because they should! After all, your home security system can only go so far in keeping you safe!

Let’s Learn from 2017’s Costly Disasters, to Be Workplace Ready in 2018

By now, you’ve probably heard about or seen the headlines around the record-breaking costs of 2017’s natural disasters. According to the Washington Post, last year’s natural disasters caused $306 billion in damage. Most of that was damage caused by hurricanes, at $265 billion.

Although people come down on two sides regarding why we had so many and such costly disasters, there’s one point you can’t argue: the necessity of emergency preparedness. Regardless of the reasons behind these events, the fact is that disasters do happen, and in this day and age, there not all caused by Mother Nature. We can’t prevent the disasters, but we can be ready for them.

Emergency preparedness in the workplace
In this blog, we have posted many times on being prepared for disasters, whether they hit when we’re at home or away from home. Since many of us spend a significant amount of time at work, however, let’s also address emergency preparedness in the workplace. There’s a good chance that’s where we’ll be if something does go wrong, whether it’s a natural disaster like a tornado or a manmade one like a terrorist attack.

The Nonprofit Risk Management Center website is the place to start. There you will find easy-to-follow instructions for planning for evacuations—and the key word here is planning. Knowing ahead of time how evacuations will be carried out is absolutely critical to everyone’s safety. Instructions include planning for evacuations, including the alarm system that will be used; training employees on evacuation procedures; getting any visitors out of the building; making sure everyone is accounted for; designating emergency response teams; securing vital records and equipment and much more.

We highly recommend going to this page and using it as a resource. You’ll find two kinds of checklists, one for employees to follow should they have to evacuate, and one for your business to ensure you’ve covered all your bases in your planning and training. In addition, you’ll find links to other resources as well.

What if you’re not the boss?
Even if you’re not the boss or the business owner, this is information you need to know and to share with those who are in charge—or at least with your coworkers. Because the best way to handle a disaster is to be ready for it.

If you want to start with an assessment of your state of readiness, the Red Cross has created an online assessment for businesses and schools to use to evaluate how prepared they are (or aren’t) for an emergency. If you’re an employee, this might be a good starting place for raising awareness with management, and ensuring your workplace is ready.

And regardless of whether or not management decides to listen and act, you might also want to read these tips for emergency preparedness, wherever you are when disaster strikes.

Here’s to a less chaotic 2018, but to families and facilities being prepared nonetheless!

Photo by Benjamin Kerensa on Unsplash

Stocking Pantries with Emergencies Supplies Is as Important as Our Favorite Fall Foods

We have officially entered fall, which means yes, pumpkin spice lattes and other favorite fall foods. More importantly, it means temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting worse.

And speaking of food, is your food supply set for an emergency? You’re probably not facing hurricanes like those that have been dominating headlines lately, since only a portion of the country is vulnerable to those disasters. But storms and other natural disasters can hit anywhere at any time, especially with winter approaching. As you’re doing your disaster preparedness, make sure stocking your pantry is high on the priority list.

Consider the plight of people in Puerto Rico who have gone days without electricity or water in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, making food scarce and difficult to prepare. How well stocked is your home in the case of an emergency? Simply having a few boxes of pasta stashed away won’t work. Instead, here are four things you’ll need to keep your pantry as disaster-ready as the rest of your home:

  • A way to cook: Be it a camp stove, a grill, or even your wood stove, you will want some method of preparing or heating up food. Your heat source may be able to double as your cooking heat source, but you might need the two sources to be separate. Warming up canned goods so you can feed your family a hot meal is going to be much appreciated if your power goes out for a few days and you’re cold.
  • Food: Speaking of canned goods, store at least three days’ worth of non-perishable food, but not food that requires preparation. Everything should be either canned or dried, as your freezer won’t be working if the power goes out, and if water is scarce, you won’t want to use it to boil up pasta. High-energy foods like ready-to-eat meats, protein bars, peanut butter, dried fruit, and dry cereal are all items that don’t need to be prepared. Write throw away dates on these items so you know when to restock, or come up with an annual plan for restocking your emergency supplies, donating the previous year’s supply to your local food bank. It’s also best to avoid any foods that will make you thirsty, since water might be scarce. You can find more tips for the types of food to store here.
  • Pet food: Your furry friends will get hungry too, so be sure to keep at least a three-day supply of pet food on hand as well.
  • Water: A good rule of thumb for water is one gallon of water per person and pet per day. Store at least three days’ worth, and up to two weeks’ worth if possible. Check the expiration dates on water jugs as well as your food’s expiration dates. You’ll find more information on storing emergency water here.

Winter is coming, following close on the heels of those pumpkin spice lattes. With a little effort now, we can be ready to keep our families fed before the worst weather hits.

5 Summer Safety Tips for the Four-Legged Family Members

We’ve been talking about summer safety stuff here at SafeStreetsUSA, like how home automation can help make for a more comfortable summer, safer road trips, and swimming pool safety tips. But we’ve neglected an important member of the family in all of this summer safety talk: the dogs!

Let’s remedy that right now with five summer safety tips for that four-legged friend.

Most (if not all) summer safety advice for your dogs is related to the heat of summer. So the biggest tip of all is to take the heat into consideration every day, when you’re letting the dog out, planning a trip to the store, or going for a walk. And note that although the advice below is geared toward dogs, much of it applies to your feline friends as well…

Tip 1: Water, water, water
Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water all the time. At our house, because our two of our cats tend to spend a lot of time outside, we have two water bowls during the summer: one inside the house and one outside. Our dog is rarely left outside unattended but if he does go out for a bit on his own, he can access that water too.

We’ve also started keeping a milk jug full of water in the car along with a plastic bowl so when the dog goes somewhere with us, we can easily make sure he is staying hydrated.

Tip 2: Never ever EVER leave your dog in the car
Speaking of the car, our dog is not left in the car in the summer, period. He only goes in the car if he can get out of it when we get where we’re going. Leaving your dog in the car on a hot day for even a few minutes is just too dangerous to risk it. It might feel like a pleasant 70 degree day outside, but inside the car is probably 90 degrees. And on a hot day like 85 degrees, the interior of your car can heat up to 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Within 30 minutes, that temperature can climb to 120 degrees! (Temperature data from the ASPCA)

This is such a serious issue that many states are now making it illegal to leave a dog in a car.

Sadly, just the other day my mother was leaving the vet’s office when a young man came in holding a limp puppy. The puppy had been left in a hot car and looked lifeless. The vet told my mother it might live but–if it did–it would never be quite right in the head because of the damage done by the heat.

Tip 3: Follow the sun to ensure there’s shade
I’ve seen people leave their dogs outside in the morning with plenty of shade, not realizing that shade would disappear as the day went along. Make sure your dog has shade all day long as the sun moves across the sky.

Tip 4: Be mindful about your walks
Take the heat into account when planning for your walks. Our dog is a big dog and getting older. He seems to have a harder time with the heat these days as a result, so our walks have to take place late in the evening when the weather has cooled. This also helps us to avoid the hot asphalt that would otherwise burn the bottoms of his feet. It’s not always convenient to do it later in the day, and he doesn’t understand why he has to wait so long for that walk, but it means the heat isn’t an issue for him or his paws.

Tip 5: Make sound decisions
In my experience, a dog will often put up with discomfort to be near his or her people, so you can’t trust the dog to know whether it’s too hot and act accordingly. That means you need to make sound decisions about the dog’s exposure to heat, sun, water, exercise, asphalt, etc. to help your furry friend handle the heat in the best possible way while still being right where he or she wants to be….right by your side.

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