Don’t leave your pet out during the dog days of summer
Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency is giving animal owners key tips to give their pet a better summer experience
TULARE COUNTY – While the heat leaves many of us gasping for air conditioned homes, animals are not so lucky. Which is why everyone with a pet or other type of animal needs to be aware of what their furry friend is going through as we go through the dog days of summer.
During extreme heat, both agricultural animals and pets are at risk of experiencing heat illness with potentially serious consequences. HHSA Animal Control offers the following tips so that residents can keep their animals healthy and safe this summer:
• Never leave pets in parked cars for any length of time. The temperature in a car can reach 120° F in less than 10 minutes. If you see an animal in a parked car during the summer, call local animal control or the police immediately.
• Every animal needs shade and water. Any animal that is outside needs protection from the heat and sun, and plenty of fresh, cool water.
• Know and recognize the signs of heatstroke: Signs of heatstroke 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.
• If heatstroke occurs, act immediately: Take the following steps immediately to gradually lower your pet’s body temperature, and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
• Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area;
• Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest, or run cool water over them;
• Let your pet drink small amounts of cold water or lick ice cubes; and take your animal directly to a veterinarian.
• Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours on very hot days: Remember that both asphalt and cement sidewalks get very hot. These surfaces reach high temperatures and can burn your pet’s paws.
• Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer and may require sunscreen on nose and ear tips.
• An animal’s normal temperatures are from 99° to 102.2° . As a result, they may more quickly reach fatal temperatures of 105° to 106°. An animal should never be tied up where it cannot access shade and water; the water should be kept shaded. Pets with e-collars could suffer heat stroke because the collar traps heat around the head. Dogs only have sweat glands on their paws, so most of their cooling efforts are achieved via panting. All animals should be checked frequently, as should their water sources. Some animals tip over their water bowls and can become dehydrated quickly.
These safety tips are not a substitute for veterinary care. If a heat-related illness occurs, contact your veterinarian immediately.
For more information about summer heat safety, visit the Humane Society website at https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/keep-pets-safe-heat.