Dog Days of Summer
Pets suffer just as much as we do in the heat, so here are some tips on how help them cool down
Are you having a hard time with this heat? Imagine being covered in fur. High heat and humidity can be a deadly combo for your pets.
- Keep your pets in the house with air conditioning, a fan, or blackout window coverings. If a dog is outside, there must be plenty of shade and lots of fresh water.
- Never leave a dog in a parked car! Animals can suffer brain damage and die of heatstroke within 15 minutes inside a parked car.
- Walk dogs early in the morning or after the sun goes down to avoid the risk of heat stroke. Check the pavement or concrete; if you cannot keep your hands on it for 10 seconds, it could burn your dog’s paw pads.
- Buy a kiddie pool for your dogs so they can cool down.
- Make ice cubes or “pupsicles” with dog cookies inside.
- Keep a bowl of water out for street dogs but change it often to avoid mosquito larva.
- Take a trip to the beauty salon and have the dog’s hair shaved off. He may not be impressed but will appreciate it later.
- Take extra caution with brachycephalic breeds like pugs and bulldogs with a small airway making it difficult to breathe. Overweight and older dogs are at higher risk of heatstroke.
Watch for the symptoms of hyperthermia and heat stroke. They include: sticky and dark or bright red tongue and gums, excessive panting, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, staggering or walking in a stupor, followed by bloody diarrhea or vomit and seizures. The dog may go into a coma and succumb to organ failure if it does not get immediate veterinary treatment. Find a cool place, wet it down with cool water. Ensure the dog has plenty of water, and put wet cloths on its feet and neck.
Cats are not immune to heat stroke. Watch for signs such as rapid breathing, redness in the mouth, lethargy, staggering, vomiting or unconsciousness. Cool the cat with ice packs and get to the vet immediately.