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Summertime Pet Weather Safety

20 Jun 2017, 5:06 pm

The heat of summer is upon us and many places are seeing excessive heat this week.  Unless your pet is a regular viewer of Weather Nation they may not be fully aware when it will be hot or not. That’s where you come in as a good pet owner keeping those four legged family members safe.

High heat and humidity will affect your pet differently and more adversely than it does you.  Most of our four legged friend regulate their body temperatures by panting. Panting evaporates moisture in their lungs and mouths and cools them  similarly to how we humans evaporate sweat to keep cooler. A combination of high heat and humidity will greatly reduce the effectiveness of this cooling process in animals just as it does in humans. Keeping your pet safe, comfortable and healthy should be paramount and there are actions you should take when the heat sets in.

Never leave pets in a parked car, not even for a minute. Even with windows cracked, temperatures can get dangerous in a short time.  

If your pet spends time outside you need to provide ample shade and water. Shade from trees or tarps is good, enclosed areas like dog houses are bad.

Limit exercise and outdoor activity for your pets on hot days. Try to limit outdoor activity on hot days to early morning or later evening hours.  Always provide plenty of water for your pet to avoid serious dehydration when on the go.

Fans can really help to keep us humans cooler but fans don’t work as well with our furry friends.  Remember animals have different cooling mechanisms than people.

Cool treats are most appreciated by most pets and even a bunch of ice cubes in the water dish will show your pet that you care.

Pavement and asphalt can get very hot and can burn can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.  

Monitor your pet during hot days and even take their temperature.  A dog’s body temperature  should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.  Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in your pets.  Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

If you have a pet suffering from heat stroke move it to a cool area. You can apply ice packs or cold towels to your pets head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over your distressed family member. Allow the pet to  drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

For Weather Nation: Meteorologist Mike Morrison

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