It’s a fact that the hotter weather can pose a danger to family pets. To avoid heartbreak and tragedy, learn all that you can to ensure your pet stays safe during the summer months. Are you ready to take some notes? Let’s ask a seasoned vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ about heatstroke and how to keep pets safe from the summer heat:
- Never leave pets in the car unattended: As a pet parent, you must always use common sense, but especially so when the hot weather arrives. Never leave your pets in the car, not even for two minutes or with the windows cracked, because the inside temperature of a vehicle can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes—the time it takes to reach deadly temperatures depends on the outside temperature. Trapped pets can suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
- Limit activity on hot days: Whether your pet enjoys daily exercise like walks and runs or simply likes to zoom around to release energy, you will want to limit their physical activity on very hot days. Let them exercise in the early morning or evening hours, but limit their time in direct sunlight. Remember that asphalt and concrete heats up in the sun and can burn paws, so walk your dogs on the grass, or not at all.
- Be aware of humidity: A high temperature is not the only thing that can affect your pet on hot days—you also have to factor in the humidity. Instead of sweating, animals pant to release heat from their body and evaporate moisture from their lungs. High humidity renders them unable to cool themselves properly, meaning their temperature will soar dangerously high.
- Provide shade and water: When dogs and cats are outside, make sure they have adequate protection from the heat and sun, as well as fresh, cold water. Leafy trees, lawn umbrellas and patio covers offer ideal shelter against the heat, as they don’t obstruct airflow like doghouses or sheds.
How to spot heatstroke in pets
With the warmer weather comes the potential for heatstroke, not just for people, but for pets as well. Be especially cognizant of heat-related problems in obese pets, animals with thick coats, elderly pets and those with upper respiratory issues. Watch out for these signs of heatstroke when temperatures rise: fast pulse/heart rate, heavy panting, panic and anxiety, the inability to get up and brick-red gums.
Take immediate action if you suspect your pet has heatstroke. If heatstroke is not obvious, take their temperature rectally. A reading above 105 degrees Fahrenheit is dangerous—even considering a dog’s normal body temperature runs higher than humans (101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit)—and you’ll need to cool them down. The quickest way is to place them in cool water until their temperature reaches 103 degrees; bring them to the vet as soon as possible to prevent possible organ damage.
Contact a knowledgeable vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ at Newkirk Family Veterinarians for more information about summer pet safety.