Helmut Schmidt, Published July 02 2012
Caring for your pets in the heatSummer time is fun time for people and pets.
But the heat means keeping in mind some basic precautions to ensure the safety of those that wear fur coats year-round, the Human Society Fargo-Moorhead says.
BluePearl Veterinary Partners of Tampa, Fla., also shares tips on treating burns, and handling fireworks fears.
- Never leave a pet in a parked vehicle when temperatures are above 60 degrees.
Even with a window cracked or the car parked in the shade, temperatures in a car can top 100 degrees in a short time, leading to heat stroke.
The Humane Society urges people to call police if they see a pet left in a car on a hot day,
- Keep your pet cool outside. Make sure they have access to cold water and plenty of shade.
Limit their time out during the heat of the day.
If a pet appears heat distressed, pour cool water over it. Contact a veterinarian if water doesn’t help.
Signs of heat distress in animals include restlessness or lethargy, heavy panting, excessive thirst, lack of appetite, dark-colored tongue, vomiting and lack of coordination.
- Exercise your pet in the early morning or late evening. Bring a container of water on long walks.
- Take it easy on elderly, very young and ill pets in hot weather.
Dogs with snub noses, such as Pekingese, pugs and bulldogs, have a hard time staying cool because they can’t pant efficiently and have a harder time breathing, so they need to stay out of the heat.
Overweight dogs are more prone to overheating. Their fat acts as insulation, trapping heat and restricting breathing.
- Not all dogs can swim. Don’t throw a dog into the water. Keep track of them when they are in the water. Don’t leave pets unattended by a pool, lest they fall in and not be able to get out.
- Keep your pet’s coat trimmed to protect them from the sun, while insulating them from the heat.
Pets can get sunburns, too. If you plan on spending the day outside, especially with a pet that has a lighter-colored hair coat, speak with your veterinarian about using sunscreen.
- If your pet is burned, never put any type of cream, ointment, butter or margarine on it. They can introduce bacteria and other harmful substances into the burned area.
If the burn is mild, cool it with water and contact your veterinarian.
For more severe burns, cover the wound with a clean, sterile cloth. Most importantly, get the pet to your family veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.
In addition to the burn itself, injured animals may not behave as usual due to pain, fear or shock.
- Besides physical injuries, pets may have greater anxiety and stress due to fireworks and visits by guests who may not usually be around. This is important to remember as your pets may not behave as they usually do.
- If your pets frighten easily, make sure they can’t run away, as loud noises from fireworks could frighten them. Also, if your pets are frightened due to this unusual activity, try playing a game to distract them, or place them in a secure area like a kennel where they can feel safe. Placing a blanket over the kennel can decrease their anxiety. If you know your pet experiences anxiety in thunderstorms and while fireworks are going off, contact your veterinarian to see about potential medicated solutions.
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