Yay! It’s summer…time for fun in the sun with the whole family. However, what’s fun for us may not be very safe for our furry family members. A few simple steps can help keep your pets safe from overheating this summer.
If you haven’t already, get your dog in for a check-up. Get the heartworm test. Then make sure their heartworm preventative is kept up monthly along with their flea and tick product.
Look for shady areas for your pet to enjoy. Dogs can dehydrate very quickly, so supplying them with plenty of fresh, clean and tepid or cool water is a must for good health. Find a shady spot to escape the sun, don’t let them over exercise (you know how they can get carried away!), and just keep them inside when it is just plain HOT!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Stuck inside a car on a hot day, even with the windows wide open, can cause heat stroke. Besides being against the law to put an animal in this situation, WHY would anyone risk losing their best friend to such a horrible death?
EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS OF OVERHEATING! Symptoms include:
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Drooling, or eventually lack of moisture on the tongue
- Mild weakness, stupor or collapse.
- Seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees
Dogs (and cats!) with flat faces, like Pugs, Pekes and Persians are even more susceptible to heat stroke because they can’t pant effectively. They, along with the elderly, overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible!
Haircuts can help, and while a trim is ok you should never shave the dog. The layers of their coats actually protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can make them handle the heat better, too. (If a pet’s coat is in such disrepair a full shave is humanely needed, you should seek advice on how to care for your pet’s coat properly and routinely).
One last topic is paw pads! When the temps soar PLEASE don’t make your dog “dance” in the bed of a pick-up truck OR walk on hot asphalt. A good rule of thumb is to put your own unprotected hand on the surface your dog will be on and see how long you can comfortably keep it there. Also, being so low to the ground, their entire body can heat up quickly. Blistered paw pads are painful, preventable and cruel. Keep walks short in the heat and wait until the sun goes down and temps cool for the long evening walk.
IF YOU SEE AN ANIMAL IN DISTRESS CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY!