When the heat starts to rise it can pose significant dangers to the most vulnerable among us, our pets. Their bodies aren’t designed to cool down in the ways we are able, not to mention many of them are covered in fur. So as the summer months get particularly hot and humid, the risks of substantial health hazards are increased and that can lead to injury or even death.
Leaving your pet in a parked car during the summer should never happen, not even for a minute or two with the air conditioner running while you pop into the store for something. A car can turn into an oven on sweltering hot days with temperatures reaching triple digits in a very brief amount of time. If an animal is left in this condition, it can suffer permanent organ damage and death is almost always the result.
This is not only cruel it is now illegal in many states around the country with state laws allowing for passersby to break into a vehicle with an animal inside to save its life. Your pet shouldn’t be forced to endure such hot temperatures just because you need to go shopping. Think before you act.
Never leave your pet inside a parked car on even a warm day. Period.
Exercising in the Heat
You should limit the amount of time your pet is able to go outdoors on very hot days. That’s because certain types of animals can have trouble breathing and may be more prone to getting skin cancer. Not to mention the hot asphalt of sidewalks, roads, and walkways that can burn the toepads of animals’ paws as they walk.
But exercise is also important so if you plan to take your dog for a walk, be sure to do it when the sun is not as strong, either early in the morning or in the very late afternoon or early evening. These are the times of day when the sun’s rays are less impactful and temperatures are slightly lower.
Even during these hours, you should always carry plenty of water to keep your pet fully hydrated and stay to grassy areas to keep your pet’s paws safe from harm.
Managing Hot Temperatures
As we’ve stated already, pets don’t cool down in the same ways that we do. That means the same methods we rely upon for beating the heat may not be as effective in helping you pet stay safe and comfortable. As an example dogs don’t sweat like you or I, they do all of that mostly through their paws, whereas we sweat all over our entire body.
Keeping this in mind, it’s important to take certain precautions to avoid your animal from overheating and suffering the symptoms. A common fan, for instance, won’t be effective in keeping your pets warm in the same manner it might help us beat the heat.
So in order to take the correct actions toward helping your pet stay cool, always have fresh water on hand for them to drink. Giving them cold items to eat can also be effective in maintaining a healthy body temperature.
When they are outdoors, be sure they always have some kind of safe space from the sun and heat, giving them shady areas in which to lie down or sit. But always be sure these places allow for total unobstructed airflow as that will play an important role in keeping your pet safe in the heat.
A doghouse is not a good idea because these structures can actually retain heat because they are enclosed. There is very little airflow in a doghouse so having your pet sit in one can make them feel hotter and not cooler.
Pets that are exposed to high temperatures are at risk of getting heatstroke like the rest of us. If your pet is exposed to extreme heat for any length of time, keep an eye out for the following symptoms that are consistent with heatstroke: excessive panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, dark or bright red tongue and gums, excessive thirst, lethargy, trouble walking, seizures, excessive salivation, bloody diarrhea, or vomiting.
If you witness any of these signs, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Place your pet in some cool water to help lower their temperature or hose them down if you are outdoors. Give them water to drink with ice cubes. But definitely have your pet checked out by your vet as quickly as possible as heatstroke can have a lasting impact on your pet’s internal organs.