EVERYDAY HOME | 6.30.15 | by Julie Rhodins
As the summer temperatures soar, it’s always a good time to remind ourselves that our pets need heat relief just like us. With just a few precautions, protecting pets in the heat can be easy. Here’s our ultimate reminder list so that your dog or cat doesn’t get heat stroke or succumb to dehydration.
- Never leave your pet in a parked hot car. It’s better to leave the animal at home than bring your pet with you and put it in danger in a hot vehicle. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) —
On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, 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. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
- Watch the humidity, not just the ambient temperature. You can check humidity levels at Accuweather.com, and Weather.com‘s free app for smartphones has hour-by-hour local humidity at your fingertips. When humidity levels are high, take your pet’s temperature. The HSUS says that if your dog’s temperature is over 104 degrees then you need to look for ways to help your animal cool down, like a kiddie pool to splash around in, ice cubes in the animal’s water container, a pet cooling mat, or bring the animal indoors into air conditioned air. Says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association —
Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.
- Provide water and shade at all times. A dog house is not ample shade for your pet because there is not enough air flow. Instead, a tarp or a tree is best.
- Consider clipping fur. Some animals can benefit from some fur clipping to help manage the heat. But before you do this, talk to your animal’s vet for advice because there are differences of opinion and it may depend on the breed.
- Take walks early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is cooler. This is not only for protecting against heat exhaustion but also to protect paws from burning-hot asphalt and sidewalks. Says Petland —
Pets’ paws can burn too so take precautions to keep their paws cool and healthy. Walking in a shady or grassy area, taking walks in the morning or evening, and even protective booties can help prevent their paws from burning. And remember, those long walks on the beach are no fun if the sand is too hot!
- Look for signs of heat stroke. Says Dr. W. Ron DeHaven of the The American Veterinary Medical Association —
Signs of heat stroke include hard panting, staggering gate, rapid heartbeat, listlessness, restlessness, dark red or purple gums and tongue, and vomiting. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, put a cold towel around its neck, get it into an air conditioned car and get it to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Also, if you’re looking to take your pet on vacation, read our guide on what you need to know here.
How do you keep your pet cool in the heat?
Let us know in the comments below ⬇