Hot Weather Tips for Your Pet
We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors
with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger,
warn ASPCA experts.
"Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and
sunburn if overexposed to the heat," says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President
of Veterinary Outreach, "and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated
Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your
pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat
stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.
Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer
check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm
if they aren't on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your
animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control
Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated
quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make
sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not
over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.
Know the Warning Signs
According to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of
Veterinary Outreach, "symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive
panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate,
drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include
seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of
over 104 degrees." 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 the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung
diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot
day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows
open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke," says Dr. Louise Murray, Director
of Medicine at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets
unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are
good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear
devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine
or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which
contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
"During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured
animals as a result of High-Rise
Syndrome, which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors
and are seriously or fatally injured," says Dr. Murray. "Pet owners need to
know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions." Keep
all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable
screens are tightly secured.