As the temperature rises, ensuring that our pets are able to maintain proper body temperatures is extremely important. Keep pets indoors with plenty of fresh water during the hottest times of the day. If your pets must remain outside, make sure they have access to water and shade at all times. Filling small children’s pools with water for supervised outdoor play will help pets cool off.
Never leave your pet in a parked car. According to reports from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), even on mild days, when outdoor temperatures are 73 degrees F, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees within 30 minutes. At 90 degrees or higher, it only takes minutes for the temperature inside a car to reach 160 degrees.
Dogs and cats can suffer from heat stress like people do. Very young, very old, overweight and short-nosed pets are most susceptible. If your pet has had a previous history of cardiovascular or respiratory disorders, be even more cautious. Healthy pets can have severe reactions to long exposure in the heat or even to short exposure if they are exerting themselves during a walk or run.
After dark, it is still hot, and animals can still overheat. It is not a good idea to take a dog on a run or jog with you in hot weather at any time of the day or night. Dogs are not equipped to sweat and let off excess heat the way people can.
Some symptoms of heat stress or heat stroke include profuse panting and salivation, staring or an anxious expression, failure to respond to commands, warm and dry skin, high fever, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, muscular weakness, collapsing and bloody diarrhea.
If your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms of heat stroke, try to reduce the body temperature by gradually immersing in cool water. Cool wet towels may also be used for transit to the veterinarian’s office. Get your pet to a veterinarian immediately after applying the cool water and ice packs. Rapid treatment for shock, brain swelling and other side effects of heat stroke is needed to prevent death and give your pet a better chance of survival.
To help prevent heat stress in pets, make sure animals have plenty of clean, fresh water at all times; provide proper ventilation and air circulation for animals kept in kennels or pens; make sure your pen has shade cover when outdoors; avoid excessive exercise during hot weather; and never leave pets in parked vehicles.