News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Summer heat can be deadly for your pet

Summer is here, and when the mercury rises furry friends are at risk for heatstroke or death if their pet parents make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car.

Unfortunately, every year across the nation, thousands of pets fall victim to or die from hot-weather-related conditions due to the ignorance or poor judgment by a pet parent.

Leaving your pet in a parked car can be a deadly mistake. The temperature inside a car can reach 120º Fahrenheit in a few minutes.

Even partially open windows won’t protect your furry friend from heatstroke!

Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs.

While people can identify signs of exhaustion or stress, it can be harder to determine when pets are distressed.

According to the Oregon Humane Society, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, drooling, vomiting and an internal temperature of 104º are signs of heat stress.

How can you prevent your dog from suffering in a hot car?

Don’t take your pets with you to run errands. Your pooch may enjoy a car ride, but leaving him in the car while you go into the store for even 10 minutes on a warm day could turn deadly! No animal deserves to suffer trapped in the sweltering heat of a metal oven on wheels with no way to save himself.

Cool outside doesn’t mean cool in the car. It doesn’t have to be that warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside. When it’s 72º outside, the temperature inside a car can heat up to 116º within an hour; at 80º outside, the temperature inside a car can heat up to 99º in 10 minutes.

The best hope for eliminating this tragic occurrence is to educate friends, family and anyone you come in contact with about leaving dogs in hot cars.

Staying cool is extra tough for dogs because they can only reduce their internal temperature by panting and sweating through their paw pads.

Walking your dog is ideal exercise, it reinforces training, and helps you bond with your pet, and summer is a great time for walks. But, if you are walking on hot asphalt and pavement, your dog may be getting something you didn’t bargain for – painful burns and blisters. Fortunately, it is easy to protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement without giving up summer walks.

Because surfaces, particularly asphalt and concrete, will absorb heat, they can actually be much hotter than the surrounding air temperature, so even if a summer day isn’t outrageously hot, your pet’s paws can still be at risk. For example, when the outdoor temperature is a sunny 80º, an asphalt surface can be as hot as 125º and can cause painful and dangerous burns in as little as 60 seconds.

Not many pet parents carry surface thermometers and aren’t equipped to precisely measure surface heat before a friendly walk. So, a quick rule-of-thumb test is to put your hand down on the surface and hold it there for seven to 10 seconds. If you are unable to keep your hand on the surface that long without discomfort, then it is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Stay on grassy surfaces and avoid bare ground when outside in the summer heat.

Avoid the hottest parts of the day. Walk early in the morning or late in the evening after the pavement has cooled down.

You could also invest in a set of booties to help keep the heat from burning your dog’s paws.

Different dogs have different needs when battling the heat. Keep in mind that dogs with darker coats absorb more heat than lighter coats. Also, overweight dogs, very young or older dogs are at a higher risk for dehydration. Carry a bottle of water when going on a walk with your furry friend.

Your furry friend doesn’t realize that he will overheat while playing fetch in the park on a hot day, he won’t know when he is overheated until it is too late.

It’s up to you as a responsible pet parent to watch for heat stress and dehydration in your dog, know when it’s time to take a break, to give him a drink, and to rest in the shade for a while.

Dogs cool from the bottom up. So, make sure to spray the paws and stomach, not just the top of Rover. That’s why a wet towel does better on the bottom of your dog than when laid on top of him. Get creative and find innovative ways to cool Rover. Find a spot in the shade or set up a kiddie pool.


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