Heat Precautions for Your Pet
What you Need to Know
It is important to know what precautions to take with your pet during hot summer months.
Keep these tips in mind and remember to look for signs that your dog or cat has had enough sun for the day. Also, get to know your breed. Certain dogs/cats cannot be in the heat for any period of time.
It is best to keep your pets inside on summer days, or at the very least during the hottest parts of the day.
If your pet is outside during the day: Provide protection from the sun and plenty of fresh water. Older, short muzzle and overweight dogs are more likely to overheat during hot weather. You can provide a wading pool to aid in cooling.
Leaving your pet in a parked car can be a deadly mistake. The temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a few minutes. Even partially opened windows will not protect your pet from heatstroke.
Exercise your dog in the morning or evening when temperatures and pavement are cool. Paw pads can get injured from the hot pavement and melted tar can get stuck to the pad and hairs. Pets need exercise but do it in the cooler hours of the day.
Dogs in truck beds can suffer injury or heat stroke. If you cannot touch the hot truck bed with your bare hand, your dog should not be on the hot metal.
Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with those that are elderly, overweight, or have heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Know the warning signs of overheating in pets. Symptoms include:
- Seizures Bloody diarrhea and vomit
- Elevated body temperature of over 104
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Drooling, weakness, stupor or collapse
Heat Stroke: If your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms transport him/her to your vet or emergency clinic immediately. Effects from heat stroke can be long lasting and deadly.
Information brought to you by the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team