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Beat the Heat!
08/04/15 at 04:28 PM | Published Under Travel with Dogs
Beating the Heat
As summer approaches, weather can potentially become dangerous for humans and their four-legged pals. Here are a few basic – but essential – tips to keep your pets safe when the heat is on.
Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs. If the humidity is too high, they’re unable to cool themselves and their body temperature skyrockets to dangerous levels very quickly.
Provide plenty of water and shade.
Don’t count on a doghouse for heat relief since they aren’t typically designed to provide good airflow. Tarps and tree shade are much better options. Be sure your pet also has access to plenty of fresh water. You can even add ice cubes on especially hot days.
Limit exercise to early morning or evening – adjusting the duration and intensity according to the temperature. Take extra care with short-nosed pets that generally have difficulty breathing and with pets susceptible to sunburn. Try to avoid hot asphalt by walking your pet on grass. And be sure to carry plenty of water.
Protect sun-sensitive areas like ear tips, nose, and belly and groin areas where skin is thinner and hair coverage is sparse. Sunscreen is especially essential for pets with "summer cuts" that reduce matting and keep them comfortable in the heat.
Never leave your pets in a parked car – even with the car running and air conditioner turned on.
At 85 degrees, the temperature inside a car with the windows slightly opened shoots to 102 degrees within 10 minutes and to 120 degrees by 30 minutes. Your pet could suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
Don't rely on a fan.
Fans aren’t as effective for cooling pets as they are for humans. And some pets are stressed by the mechanics and noise.
Cool your pet inside and out.
Consider a body wrap, vest or mat that can be soaked in cool water. If your dog tolerates bathing, consider this route to help cool him down. Make sure his dog water bowl is always filled with fresh water.
Watch for heatstroke signs.
Among the warnings are a deep red or purple tongue, glazed eyes, heavy panting, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, rapid heartbeat, fever, lethargy, vomiting, seizure, lack of coordination and profuse salivation. Those at highest risk are very young, very old, obese, or those suffering from respiratory or heart disease. Breeds with short muzzles like pugs, boxers and shih tzus also have a harder time breathing in extreme heat. If you suspect your pet is suffering from a heatstroke, immediately relocate him into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Then apply ice packs or cold towels to the neck, head and chest or run cool (not cold) water over it. Provide small amounts of cool drinking water or let him lick ice cubes. Then take him to a veterinarian.
Enjoy the summer sun with caution and get ready for a fun filled season with your dog!