Summertime is a time for fun and frolicking but it’s also fraught with danger for our pets. When the temperature rises, we need to take extra caution to make sure our pets are okay in the heat. Here are some key tips to help keep your pet cool and safe.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET ALONE IN THE CAR ON A WARM DAY
Despite the warnings, every year, pets die after their owners leave them in a parked car that overheats. Within just a few minutes, a car can get extremely shot, stifling, and deadly. Dr. Ernie Ward did an experiment on a warm summer’s day in which he sat in a parked car with the windows cracked. He wanted to see just how hot it would get. Within 30 minutes it was 117 degrees inside the car. “Never, ever leave your dog in a parked car on a warm day”, That goes for any pet, by the way!
BE VIGILANT ABOUT VET CARE
When it starts getting warm outside, take your dog or cat to the vet for a full check up. The check up should include a heartworm test and a flea and tick protection plan. These are year-round issues but in the summer months, with much more outdoors time, it’s especially important to monitor them.
AVOID WALKING YOUR DOG IN THE HEAT
Aim for mornings and evenings when letting your dog outside. Sometimes, though, it’s just hot all day long. Even in the coolest part of the day, watch for signs of trouble: Glassy eyes and frantic panting indicate a dog who needs help. Get to a veterinarian immediately if you see these symptoms! Also walking dogs on hot pavement/ asphalt will burn their pads off. When the air temperature registers at 77 degrees, the pavement/asphalt can reach 125 degrees. Before taking your dog for a walk,place your hand firmly on the asphalt for 7 seconds. If its comfortable to you then your dog should be safe also.
KEEP YOUR HOME COOL FOR YOUR PETS
When the temperature outside gets hot, it can be harder to keep the indoors cool. Some people turn their air conditioning off when they leave for the day. If you have a pet at home, this could put him in danger. Instead of turning off the air conditioner, try leaving it on a conservative but comfortable setting (perhaps 76°F) while you are out. Make sure your pet has water and, “consider closing curtains to reduce the heating effects of sunlight through the windows.”
GIVE YOUR PETS ACCESS TO SHADE AND PLENTY OF WATER
Pets can get dehydrated or get heatstroke quickly so any pet outside needs to have plenty of water and access to shade. Kiddie pools are a great way to help keep pets cool. Make sure that water is fresh daily, as many pets will use this as an additional source of drinking water. Changing water sources out also keeps water cool and the incidence of mosquitos down.
KNOW WHICH DOGS ARE LESS TOLERANT OF HEAT
Remember that some dog breeds are less tolerant of the heat than others. “Remember that older, obese or short-nosed dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and French Bulldogs) are less tolerant of heat.” Also, older dogs, puppies and dogs with health issues can also be more susceptible to hot weather. Of course, you should keep a close eye on your dog in the heat, no matter what his breed, age or state of health.
Our pets rely on us to protect them and keep them comfortable and safe year round! Remember, if you’re hot, your pets are definitely hot.
SIGNS OF HEAT ILLNESS OR STOKE:
confusion or anxious
warm to the touch
increased heart rate
stumbling or collapsing
laying down and reluctant, refusing to get up
brick red gums
sticking out tongue, salivating, whining
elevated rectal temperature
If you suspect your pet is overheated spend no more than 5 minutes wetting them down with either a water hose, making sure water is cold. Or submerging them in a bath tub of cool water is effective too. Do not delay in seeking treatment from you local veterinarian immediately. Heat stroke is bad as it can lead to: lung damage, muscle damage, brain damage, liver failure, kidney damage and or failure, bleeding/clotting dysfunction.
Pets who have survived one episode of heatstroke are at greater risk for a repeat episode, as the area of the brain that responds to heat is forever changed.