Summer Time with your pet can be Cool!
Summer is a time that we need to be extra diligent in keeping our pets cool so that overheating does not occur.
Heat Related Concerns
Always provide plenty of fresh water. Dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet and by panting. Evaporation from the wet surfaces of their nose and mouth help to lower body temperature.
Horses can be hosed off to help them cool down on a hot day!
A pet should never be left in a parked car, not even if the windows are cracked and the car is in the shade. This is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS! The temperature on a 70° day can rise above 150° in a matter of minutes. This is a major cause of heatstroke.
Heatstrokes can kill humans as well as our pets! Here in the south where our temperatures soar above 90 degrees and our humidity is very high, it can interfere with our bodies ability to cool. When pets become hot they pant; whereas humans sweat to burn off the excess heat in our bodies. Yet as the humidity rises, it becomes more difficult to cool and control the excess heat. Additionally, the types of nasal passages an animal has can also contribute to heat issues. For example: brachiocephalic breeds have not only more narrowed nasal passages but also shorter ones, thus making it more difficult to move air through the passageways to aid in their cooling. This also applies to cats as well; for example Persians and Himalayans. Such breeds are more predisposed to heatstrokes.
Further, overweight animals are more disposed to heat related issues due to all of the additional fat they carry around that acts as insulation! The heat becomes trapped in their bodies and can limit their breathing capacity.
Finally, the very young and very old pets can succumb to heat extremes since their bodies can be compromised due to failing organ systems in the elderly and not mature temperature regulating systems in the very young.
So what kind of signs should an owner look for in an animal suspected of having a heatstroke? A pet with a heat stroke will have rapid panting, warm dry or hot skin, twitching muscles, a rapid heart rate, a very high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, collapse and seizures! This is considered a medical emergency!
If you suspect your pet has had a heatstroke, wrap it in a cool, not cold, wet towel or place them in a bathtub with cool water. SEEK VETERINARY ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY!
To aid in prevention of a heatstroke, an owner should do the following: always provide plenty of fresh clean water; provide adequate shelter for your pet during the heat of the day; avoid excess exercise with your pet on extremely hot days; keep your outdoor kennels well ventilated; and finally keep your long-haired pets groomed shorter during the hot weather.