BlogPost 50823847197 Reminders for the Dog Days

Reminders for the Dog Days

Even though we have enjoyed a milder summer here in Central Texas this year, there are likely still plenty of hot days ahead. Extreme heat can pose a very serious risk to pets. 

Take a look over these reminders for keeping your pets safe during our hottest days. 

Watch for Signs of Heatstroke

Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke in humans as well as in animals. Know the warning signs and keep an eye on your furry friends. Some of the signs of heatstroke in pets include: 

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Profuse salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Deep red or purple tongue
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness

High-Risk Pets

Our furry friends with flat faces (such as Bulldogs and Persian cats) are more susceptible to heatstroke. This is because the shape of their face prevents them from panting as effectively as other animals. This makes it more difficult for them to cool down. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases should be given extra care and kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke

If you notice signs of heatstroke, immediately move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply cold towels to their head, neck, and chest, or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.

 

Just Say NO to Cars

Never, ever leave your pets in a parked car.  Not ever! Not even for a minute! Not even with the car running and the air conditioner on.

Here is why.

On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels. For example, on an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. On very hot days, temperatures inside parked cars can climb to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in less than one hour. 

These high temperatures are very bad news for an animal. 

Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), studies have shown that cracking a window does NOT alter these figures in any significant way. Which means a parked car with the windows cracked heats up at almost the exact same rate as a car with the windows rolled up, putting pets in serious danger. 

Summer Travel

If you know you’ll be on the road with your pet, it is best to plan ahead. Assume that you will not ever be able to leave your furry friend in the vehicle unattended. If you are not able to travel with another adult who can remain in the car with your pet, it might be better to make arrangements to leave fluffy at home. 

Hundreds of pets die from car-related heatstroke each year. The issue is so important that 28 states have laws restricting people from leaving their pets unattended in vehicles. Some laws ban the practice outright, while others protect law enforcement officers and citizens if they break into cars to rescue pets.

 

Stay Cool and Furry

Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet. While you might think leaving a fan on while your pet is outside will help cool them, think again. Fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people. So what can you do to help your pet stay cool? 

 

Well, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure fresh, cool water is always available to your pet. Some people like to put a few ice cubes in to keep it cool. 

 

If you are feeling creative, you could whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY pupsicles for dogs. We like these recipes from The Dog Bakery. 

Some people like to leave a shallow pool of water available so that your furry friends can jump in and cool themselves off. 

Speaking of furry friends - we all know some pets are furrier than others. It might seem logical to shave the fur to help keep them cool. The reality is that the layers of hair protect them from overheating and sunburn. Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog. As for cats - brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. 

Limit exercise on hot days

Take care when exercising with your pet during the warmer months. You might need to adjust the intensity and duration of outdoor activities depending on the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears who are more susceptible to skin cancer. Also, keep a close eye on short-nosed pets who might have difficulty breathing in the heat. 

Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws. It is best to check the ground with your hand before exposing your pet’s paws to the hot pavement. Also, walk your dog on the grass when it is possible. Hot pavement can also quickly heat your pet up. Always carry water and a dish with you to keep your friend from dehydrating. 

Keep walks during the peak heat hours to a minimum.

Provide ample shade

If your pet will be outside for any length of time, make sure they have protection from heat and sun in addition to plenty of fresh, cold water. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct airflow. A pet house does not provide relief from the heat. Instead, it serves as a hotbox of problems (much like a car) and can increase the chance of heatstroke. 

There is plenty of fun to be had in the sun. Just make sure your four-legged friends stay safe and healthy this summer. 

 

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/keep-pets-safe-heat

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dogs-in-hot-cars/

 

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