Summertime means lots of outdoor fun and just like you, your pets need protection from the heat and sun. Pets can't wear sunscreen of course and they don't sweat through their skin like we do. Dogs regulate their body heat primarily by panting, as well as through the pads of their feet and their nose. If they are unable to expel heat quickly enough, they can suffer a heat stroke.
Recognizing the following signs of heat stroke and can enable you to act quickly and help prevent an avoidable disaster:
- Increased rectal temperature (over 104° requires action, over 106° is a dire emergency)
- Vigorous panting
- Dark red gums
- Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
- Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
- Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
- Thick saliva
- Dizziness or disorientation
If the dog continues to overheat, breathing efforts become slowed or absent, and finally, seizures or coma can occur. ASPCA experts say taking simple precautions will help prevent your pet from overheating. Make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water and shade while outside. Keep them indoors when it's too hot and limit exercise in extreme summer temperatures.
You should never leave any pet unattended in a car at any time. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 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. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police. You can also spread the word about the dangers of pets in hot cars by downloading fliers and posters at MyDogIsCool.com to distribute in your community.
Growing up in Texas, I endured many a hot summer and have some of the best memories of time spent with my family and pets back then. Practice warm weather safety so you can have tons on fun in the sun with your pets too!
Happy Summer and stay cool!
Exceptional Pet Sitting www.exceptionalpetsitting.com