Dogs and cats don't sweat like humans. Understanding this simple fact can make a life or death difference for your pet during hot weather months.
The truth is pets are affected more quickly by and have more pronounced reactions to high temperatures and humidity than people. That's why an animal must never be left alone in a car. A partially open window only provides enough ventilation when the car is moving, while parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.
Here are some tips from the ASPCA to help make summer safe and fun for you and your companion animals.:
- Always provide plenty of shade for a pet staying outside the house. Whenever possible, bring your pet inside during the hottest part of the day and let him rest in a cool part of the house.
- Always provide plenty of cool, clean water for your pet. (When traveling, carry a gallon thermos filled with cold water.)
- Always excercise your pet in the cool of the day -- early morning or evening. And be alert to hot pavement which can quickly burn your pet's feet.
- Always keep your pet well groomed and check often for fleas and ticks.
- Always make sure your dog is wearing a current license or I.D. tag in case he gets lost. Consider an implantable microchip for permanent pet identification.
- Always be extra sensitive to very young, older or overweight animals in hot weather. Certain breeds are more susceptible to the heat and should be kept indoors.
- Always be alert for coolant leaking from your car or truck engine. During summer, cars are more likely to overheat and overflow; both antifreeze and coolants attract your pet, and ingesting just a small amount can cause an animal's death.
- Always hose down your dog after he's been swimming in salt water. If you take him to the beach, be sure to provide him with a shaded spot to lie in and plenty of fresh water to drink.
- Always be alert to symptoms of heatstroke: twitching, rapid panting, salivation and a racing pulse. To counteract heatstroke: pour water on every three to five minutes and then place pet in a draft or under a fan. And call the vet.