There is no denying it – summer is here, and it’s HOT outside. Now imagine wearing a fur coat during these 90+ degree days. Collierville Animal Services wants to remind you to remember how uncomfortable, and life-threatening, high temperatures can be for your pets.
The Humane Society of the United States offers these best practices for pets’ summer safety:
• Never leave your pets in a parked car. On a warm day, such as 85°, the temperature inside a car can reach 102° in only 10 minutes – even with the windows partially open.
• Watch the humidity. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, taking heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to efficiently cool themselves, and their body temperature can quickly rise to dangerous levels.
• Limit exercise on hot days. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. In addition to difficulty breathing during extreme heat, asphalt can reach temperatures over 100° and can burn your pet’s paws – grass is the coolest surface to walk your pet.
• Don’t rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans, and fans do not cool off pets as effectively as they do for people.
• Provide ample shade and water. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they do not obstruct air flow. A doghouse does NOT provide relief from heat – it can make it worse. Any time your pet is outside make sure he or she has plenty of fresh, cold water.
• Cool your pet inside and out. In addition to cold water, a cool soak in the tub can help alleviate a pet from overheating.
Dr. Carr Kelsey of Kelsey Canine Medical Center said the potential for a dog to have a heat stroke is much greater when temperatures are reaching into the 90’s.
“There are several type of dogs that are more susceptible, which include any of the brachycephalic dogs like bulldogs, pugs, and Boston Terriers,” commented Dr. Kelsey. “Other susceptible breeds include any longer hair or thick coated dogs like a Golden Retriever. Lastly, any dog that has any respiratory disease that limits their ability to pant.”
Dr. Kelsey advises that any dog can have a heat stroke without taking the proper precautions as listed above.
“Heat strokes do happen in the mid-South but can easily be prevented,” said Dr. Kelsey. “If your dog collapses or is panting for an excessive time (over 10 minutes) then you need to take them into a veterinary clinic or emergency clinic. You can try and hose them down just for a minute before heading to a veterinary hospital but the faster you get to us the better. The prognosis really depends on how high the temperature has gotten and how long they have remained at that high temperature.”
To learn more about how to keep pets safe during the summer, or to receive a flyer about heat safety tips, contact the Collierville Animal Shelter at 901-457-2670 or stop by the shelter at 559 E. South Street, Collierville, TN 38017.