Contributed by: Oswego County Humane Society
OSWEGO, NY, – With record high temperatures forecast for this coming weekend, it is clear the summer is finally here.
The Oswego County Humane Society wants to remind everyone that
our furry friends feel temperatures differently than we do/
And, during summer months, they can easily get too hot for comfort.
By following the simple pet safety tips below, you’ll ensure that your pet keeps cool in the brutally hot temperatures ahead/
• Never leave your pets in a parked car
Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on.
On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
• Watch the humidity
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect
your pet,” said Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
“Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the
humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.”
Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem.
Dogs’ temperatures should
not be allowed to get more than 104 degrees.
If your dog’s temperature does, follow the instructions below for treating heat stroke.
• Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the
temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful
with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who
typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog
on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog hydrated.
• Don’t rely on fans
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
• Provide ample shade and water Any time your pet is outside, make sure they have protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat. In fact, it makes it worse.
• Cool your pet inside and out Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs.
You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.
And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.
Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat).
Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days.
If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if they will enjoy a cooling soak.
• Watch for signs of heat stroke Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke.
Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, excessive salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease.
Some breeds of dogs – like boxers, pugs, shih tzus and other dogs and cats with short muzzles – will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
To treat heat stroke, move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them.
Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
Take them directly to a veterinarian.
And perhaps most important, pay attention to your dog and cat – you’ll know when they seem uncomfortable or like they might be in some trouble.
Summer can be a great time to spend with your dog or cat, but it’s important to keep these tips in mind as the days grow longer.
About Oswego County Humane Society
We provide services to promote and strengthen the human-animal bond through fostering-to-adoption programs, spay/neuter clinics, and humane education. The Oswego County Humane Society is designated under IRS code 501(c)3 as a charitable organization: 161586001 and registered with the New York State Charities Bureau: 06-70-81. Our registration number with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is RR239.