Summer heat and pets: Tips on how to keep your pet safe!
It’s that time of year again. Summer sun and rising temperatures make for great days to get out with your pet! With hot weather however, can come additional risks and hazards for your pet. Think about these common sense tips to help you understand the risks and act to reduce the chance of a heat-related pet emergency. Please share with your friends and relatives with pets!
In The Car:
It may be tempting to take your dog along for the ride in your care to run some errands. Unfortunately, the risk of leaving your may be greater than you think. Here are some points to think about before you decide to put your dog in a situation where they may have to spend time in a locked car without a human present.
- No Sweat. Remember that dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies like humans do. The primary way that they cool off is through panting, which is even less efficient when in an enclosed space. The temperature inside a car can elevate too quickly for a dog to be able to cool themselves adequately.
- Time matters. It doesn’t take very long for serious damage to be done. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common problems for dogs trapped in extremely hot cars, with or without ventilation. If a dog’s body temperature goes a few degrees above the normal range of 100.5 – 102.5, there is the possibility of developing serious complications including nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, systemic organ failure.
- Outside temperature DOES NOT EQUAL the temperature inside the vehicle. Even when it’s 72 degrees, a car in direct sun can reach an internal temperature of 116 degrees
- Don’t be fooled by the shade. Even in the shade, a car can be 10 to 20 degrees hotter than outdoors, and cracking the window has almost no effect. Plus a common mistake is parking in the shade and thinking that the shade will be constant. We all know the sun’s position changes through out the day. Once the sun shifts and the location is no longer shaded, the care can heat up incredibly quickly in direct sunlight.
- Just Do DONT DO It. The best way to avoid the possibility of harming your canine companion is to simply not leave them in a parked car for any duration, no matter how “short” you think the trip might be. Make alternative arrangements, or leave your dog at home or in a safe, cool environment.
- Consistency is Key. If your dog is kept in a crate or one area of the house, make sure that area is adequately cooled and will STAY that way until you return. If you leave your dogs outside, even on a patio or deck, remember that the sun will move during the day. Make sure they have access to shade all day. Use a tarp or awning to shade the spot and make sure that it will remain shady throughout the entire day.
- Keep Them Cool. If your pet is left indoors, is the area air conditioned? Many people turn off or turn down their AC when they are not home because there are no people in the location. Be mindful that your pet needs to stay cool too. Will the house stay cool through the heat of the day? Basement access will provide a naturally cool area to keep your pet comfortable.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Be sure that an adequate amount of fresh, cool water is available at all times. Can your pet spill the water source? Consider adding an automatic water dispenser for pets.
- Quick Bath. If your dog is staying outside, sometimes a cool water “bath” before leaving the house can provide additional cooling for your pet.
- Plan Ahead. Do not plan strenuous activities such as long walks or jogging at a time of day where the heat index is the highest. This can be much more stressful and even life-threatening for some dogs. Plan exercise and outdoor activities during the relative coolness of early morning and evening time. Be sure to bring along fresh water or a collapsible drinking bowl or plan a route that you know will have access to fresh water to allow your pet to get a cool drink when needed.