With Summer kicking off into high gear so quickly this year and 2020 being so different, I would like to take a moment and remind us that we have our 4 legged friends that still need to be remembered and having heat advisories for high humidity and 80-90 plus degree weather in the coming days ahead. With June, July, and August still ahead, we may have even more days of hot summer weather.
Even with temperatures in the 80s, it is still hot outside.
As we enjoy the days of sunshine, warmth, and relaxing fun outside, we need to remember to protect our companion animals from the hot weather. We hope we all know the dangers of leaving your pets in a parked car in the summer. Please be cautions about taking your dog with you in the car.
"On a warm, sunny day, windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle and pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels !"
Even if your car is parked in the shade, the temperature inside can reach 120 degrees within a matter of minutes. Leaving the windows partially rolled down does not help. Dogs are designed to conserve heat. I have done some research and found that their sweat glands, which are on their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling during hot days.
Panting and drinking water helps cool dogs. But if they have only overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. Dogs and other pets left in hot cars, even briefly, can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage and even death.
The symptoms of heat stress in a Pet is caused by exposure to extreme temperatures include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue and unconsciousness.
"Get involved. If you see a pet in a parked car during a summer day, go to the nearest store and have the owner paged. Enlist the help of mall personnel or call the local police department or local animal control office." DO NOT break the window, you can still be held accountable for the damages.
If your dog shows symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, here is a list the following steps that may save your companion animal's life:
• Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
• Apply ice packs or cold towels to your pet's head, neck, and chest, or immerse her in cool,
-- not cold -- water. Let your pet drink small amounts or water or lick ice cubes.
• Take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.
In addition to playing it safe and leaving our dogs cool and refreshed at home while we run our errands in the heat of the summer day, we need to:
• Provide our animals with plenty of cool, fresh drinking water.
• Avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog's paws.
• Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days, taking our dogs for their walks in the early mornings or evenings when the sun's heat is when you are out in the summer sun with your pet, remember, he too is susceptible to sun damage.
Dr. Ruth MacPete notes excess sun exposure can lead to sunburn and skin cancer in our pets. Areas like nose, ears, lips eyelids and belly have little or no hair on them and are very susceptible to sun damage.
MacPete has several suggestions for protecting our animals from the summer sun. Keep your pet indoors when the sun is at its strongest. If it is peak tanning time, keep your pet inside. Also, consider putting pet clothing with solar protection on your pet.
Lastly, YES use sunscreen on your pet's ear tips, nose and other areas that are vulnerable to sun damage. Human sunscreen is safe if it does not contain zinc oxide, which can be toxic if ingested. Since there are ingredients in sunscreens that can be toxic to both cats and dogs, It is recommended using only a veterinarian-approved sunscreen.
Consult your veterinarian about which sunscreen is best for your animal.
We protect ourselves from the sun and hot weather. We need to protect our animals too and to keep our birdbaths full -- but out of the reach of our dogs -- to help the birds with the heat. Sitting in the shade with my dog is one of my favorite summertime activities. Enjoy the days of summer with your dog.
So please take a make sure our companions are safe for the summer also. Like, share this story so no pet is forgotten.