The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people alike. It’s difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone the humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages.
Keep your pets safe and cool this summer. Follow these tips for helping everyone in your family stay healthy and comfortable when the heat is on.
Practice basic summer safety
Never leave your pets in a parked car-Not for a minute, even with the car running and the A/C on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
Watch the humidity
“It’s important to remember it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog’s temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke.
Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising pets. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
Don’t rely on a fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, lethargy, lack of coordination and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, and overweight or not conditioned to prolonged exercise.
How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian.
Real Property Management would like to wish everyone (including your pets) a safe summer!