With temperatures on the rise, many of us don't realize that our pets can have trouble with heat too! On a hot Florida day, a dog or cat, or child for that matter, could be stressed to the point of physical illness just because of the heat. When engaged in outdoor activities with your furry companion please be aware of their heat exposure and consider some preventative measures like carrying extra water for your dog, taking frequent walking breaks in the shade and limiting the time out in the sun.
Never leave your pet unattended in your car even if it is parked in the shade!!! A pet would last only for a short while in a parked car - this is true even with the windows rolled partially down, the inside temperature of a car can reach 120 to 160 degrees in just 30 minutes. On summer days like this where you want to take the pets along for a ride, you must either leave the air-conditioner running, or simply leave the pets at home.
Dogs do not have sweat glands like we do so they are at a disadvantage to dissipate the heat when temperatures rise above 90 degrees. Further, with heat indexes near three digits, pets can be in trouble even in your back yard! Remember not only are they wearing a fur coat, but they have very limited ways of cooling themselves. Pets pant and that's about it. Therefore, it is extremely important to provide an outside pet with a few basic survival items in this heat:
1) Shade - remember when tying out in the morning that area could be full sun by the afternoon and that can be dangerous
2) Water - leave a sprinkler on, ice cubes in the dog's water bowl
3) Air Circulation - a fan on the porch or near the dog's bed
4) When possible, bring them in
5) Cooling area - many dogs dig cooling holes in the yard this time of the year - that's normal
6) Hose them down - hose them down 2-3 times a day if you need to
Signs of Hyperthermia (Heat Stroke):
Vigorous panting, even at rest
Unwilling to get up, move or acting confused
Frothing from nose or mouth
Rigid muscles, seizures
If you find a pet in trouble:
Remove from hot environment: (shade, indoors)
No ice or cold water applied
Nothing by mouth
Wet body with cool (not cold) water or rubbing alcohol especially on their foot pads
Transport to a veterinarian immediately!
I have seen and treated many cases of heat stress and heat stroke and thanks to the immediate action of the pet owners we have saved most of them. However, anytime the body temperature rises above 104.5 (depending on the amount of time elapsed) there could be permanent organ damage. This is definitely a case where prevention is the cure. Do these preventive things, plus be aware of the signs of heat stroke and get your pets to the doctor in time to save their life! For more information contact your veterinarian or visit us at www.osahvets.com