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Protecting Pets From the Extreme Heat

by Paul Ebeling

#pets #heat #dogs #cats

“Safeguarding our pets from extreme weather conditions is important year-round, and especially right now during the heatwave that has hit the US”–Paul Ebeling

As temperatures continue to rise, do not forget about protecting your furry friends from the extreme heat. Just like people, pets can also suffer from potentially deadly heatstroke, and cases increase during the summer months.

Here are some steps to take to ensure Fido or Fifi stay healthy:

• Make sure pets are hydrated. A general rule of thumb is to provide an ounce of water for each pound of body weight. A dog who weighs 20 pounds needs 20 ounces, or almost three cups, of water daily under normal circumstances. But when the temperature rises, the body requires more hydration. When you are out and about, bring a portable collapsible water bowl or squirt bottle with you.

• Keep pets indoors during the sun’s peak hours. Exercise your dog early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s not as hot, according to Purina. Arleigh Reynolds, Purina senior research nutritionist and veterinarian, says it is important to check the pavement before you take a walk with your dog. “You can get little boots for your dog, but you have to be careful with those, too,” he says. Reynolds prefers to walk his dogs on trails because they are typically shaded, and the softer surface doesn’t heat up as much.

• Play in the water. Reynolds recommends planning outdoor activities with your pet that involve water, such as sprinklers, pool, or lakes.

• NEVER leave your dog or cat in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, the temperatures inside the car can quickly rise to dangerous, life-threatening levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit to 172 degrees Fahrenheit when it is 80 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside.”

• Recognize the danger signs of heatstroke. Reynolds suggests paying attention to your dog’s body language and behavior for any signs of illness. If the dog suddenly balks at walking or his ears and tail start to droop, these could be warning signals. Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include excessive panting or salivation, obvious discomfort, vomiting and diarrhea, disorientation, and seizures. Get your dog into a shady area and call your vet. Reynolds recommends having a digital thermometer handy so you can check your pet’s temperature. “If your dog’s body temperature goes above one hundred and four degrees, it’s time to get out of the sun and decrease the level of activity,” he says. Squirt your dog’s chest and arm pits with cool water and rub it in. Rinse his mouth with water which help his internal cooling system work more efficiently.

• Apply sunscreen on your dog’s nose and other vulnerable parts. Here are some tips on which sunscreens are recommended for pets and how to apply them properly.

• Keep your cats cool, too, says The Healthy Pet Club. The tips outlined above are all also applicable to felines. But experts suggest ensuring that there are no mats and tangles in kitty’s fur, as matted hair traps heat. Consider clipping a long-haired cat. Another strategy to keep cats comfortable is to stroke them with a cool towel.

Have a healthy week, keep the Faith!

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