- Limit exercise on hot days: With the temperatures hitting 100- plus degrees, it’s important to take care when exercising your pets. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit 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.
- Cool your pet inside and out: Simply cube some watermelon, chuck it in a ziplock baggie, and toss it into the freezer for a natural, on-the-go frozen treat you and your dog can share.
- Don’t leave your pet in a parked car: Never leave an animal in a parked car for any period of time. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. You never know when something could go wrong. On a warm day, the temperature in a car can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes- even with the windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.
If you pet is exposed to high temperatures:
- Look for signs of heat stress- heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or deep red or purple tongue.
- If your pet is overheated, move him to a cooler area and take these emergency steps: Gradually lower his body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water all over his body or soaking him in a cool bath. Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin area. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct a fan on the wet areas to speed evaporative cooling. You may offer fresh, cool water if your dog is alert and wants to drink. Do not force your pet to drink.
- Take your pet immediately to a veterinarian- it could save his/her life. Call ahead, if possible, to be sure your veterinarian is available.
- If you see an animal in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, call the police department immediately and take the following steps: Get the vehicle’s tag number and enter the nearest store or business to request an emergency announcement be made about a pet left in a hot car. Go back and wait for police at the vehicle.