Have you ever noticed how hot it can get inside a car on a summer day – far hotter than it is outside? That’s because a car acts like a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat.
A study by the Animal Protection Institute showed that even moderately warm temperatures outside can quickly lead to deadly temperatures inside a closed car.
“We see several cases of heat exhaustion or heatstroke every summer in Emergency Services,” said Kenneth J. Drobatz, DVM, director of Emergency Services at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital. “In most cases, a trip to the emergency room with your dog or cat can be avoided if an owner takes a couple of tips to heart.”
Here, we’ve listed tips to ensure you and your pet get through the summer without needing immediate veterinary care in response to excessive heat.
1. Provide your pet with plenty of fresh, clean water 24 hours a day.
2. Keep the air conditioning on when you’re not home.
3. Walk your dog first thing in the morning when the sun hasn’t yet fully risen to take advantage of cooler temperatures.
4. Get your dog or cat groomed. In summer months dogs and cats can shed tremendously. Getting that undercoat brushed out regularly can significantly cool your pet. For dogs with especially long, thick hair, shaving may help to keep them cooler.
5. If you have cats, use a heavy screen on windows or keep them closed. During the summer, the number of cats suffering from “high rise” syndrome, or falling from windows, increases dramatically.
6. If you have a fenced-in area for your dog, be sure he has a shady place to lay and provide plenty of drinking water that’s easily accessible.
7. On especially hot days, skip exercising your pet outdoors altogether. Bring playtime inside with hide-and-seek with your dog or with a laser pointer with your cat.
There are some telltale signs that your pet needs immediate veterinary intervention. Remember, heatstroke is a life-threatening condition for both dogs and cats.
Know what to look for:
Some signs to watch for include:
• Heavy, loud breathing
• Staggering gait
• Bright red tongue or gum tissue
• Vomiting/diarrhea +/- blood after being in the heat
Braxton’s Animal Works has Hot Weather Alert Flyers. Stop by to pick one up and check out other ways for you and your pet to beat the heat this summer.