Summer Heat Can be Very Dangerous to Your Pets!
Summertime means outdoor activities, and we like to spend time with our pets at the same time. But we need to be careful about how the heat affects our dear pets. Dogs and cats do not have the efficient ‘cooling system’ that us humans have: sweat. Because of this, they can easily become overheated, especially in the “dog days of summer” when temperatures are consistently in the 90’s and may reach into the 100’s.
How to Know if Your Pet is Feeling the Heat
Even though they can’t sweat, dogs and cats have a few tricks to help cool themselves down. We should watch for these as warning signs and take action before our pets get too hot. Both dogs and cats will fluff up their fur to help air circulate to their skin better. A dog’s primary method of cooling is panting; not necessarily anything to be alarmed by though, unless it is in excess. However, if a cat is panting, then it has become extremely overheated and may be in danger. A cat will primarily lick itself so that its own saliva will help to dissipate the heat; similar to when we sweat.
Severe Warning Signs
Once the pet’s temperature and the outside (air) temperature equalize, panting and licking is no longer helpful. A dog’s tongue will turn bright red when overheated, and its saliva will become very thick. As mentioned before, cats will begin to pant when overheated. The heat has now become dangerous, especially if the animal’s internal temperature gets to be around 104-106°. Heat stroke is a possibility at this point. A temperature of over 106° can be deadly even, shutting down the kidneys, liver, and heart; causing lung and brain damage. With a temperature above 106°, the pet’s gums will become pale and the pet will act dizzy and disoriented (due to lack of oxygen); some may even get a bloody nose or vomit.
What to Do!
Acting as quickly as possible is important in any situation!
In a moderate heat stroke situation:
- Give them a cool spot to lie down.
- Cover with towels soaked in cool water.
- Soak feet in cool water and rubbing alcohol.
- Offer cool water, in small amounts.
For more extreme cases:
- Cool down with a hose or soak your pet in a tub/pool of cool water.
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the pads of their feet, belly, and arm pits.
- Transport to your vet clinic with ice packs wrapped around them.
- If the pet goes into shock from heat exposure, their blood sugar levels may be dangerously low. Apply corn syrup to their gums for an instant sugar boost.
- Offer cool water if they are able to drink.
Prevention is Preferred
Keeping your pet from getting too hot in the first place is the best thing to do. There are several ways to keep them cool!
- Carry cool water on walks. (Use this nifty, portable drinking bowl!)
- Use cooling bandanas (or any bandana soaked in cool water).
- Walk, as much as possible, on grassy surfaces instead of pavement.
- Play near a body of water or pool, using floating toys: such as the Chuckit Water Skimmer.
- At home, set up a small wading pool in a shaded area for outside dogs.
|Reg. Retail 7.99
Handi-Drink Pet Waterer
|Reg. Retail 14.99
Chuckit Water Skimmer
|Reg. Retail 24.99
5′ Round Wading Pool