Believe it or not, summer is coming! We've had a few days that exceeded 70 degrees and more summer weather is on the way. Now is the perfect time to remind folks how to keep pets safe in hot weather.
In the car: Never leave your pet in the car unattended in warm weather - not even for "just a minute" or a quick stop at the grocery store. The interior of a car can hit 160 degrees in less than five minutes. Parking in the shade with the windows cracked can still be dangerous. Keeping an animal in a hot car can be fatal.
Remember that if your buddy has a shorter nose, like a Persian cat, a Pug or a Bulldog, he or she is more susceptible to heatstroke than breeds with longer noses. If you suspect you pet has become overheated, seek veterinary care immediately.
A dog's normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5F degrees. Dogs can withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees for only a very short period of time before suffering brain damage — or even death.
Signs of Heat Stroke:
• Body temperatures of 104-110F degrees
• Excessive panting
• Dark or bright red tongue and gums
• Staggering or stupor
• Bloody diarrhea
At home: Consider your pet's housing. If they are kept outdoors, make sure they have shade and fresh water access at all times. If you live in a warm climate, it is a good idea to hose down the dog before work, at lunch or whenever you can to provide extra cooling.
If you suspect heat stroke in your pet, seek veterinary attention immediately! Use cool water, not ice water, to cool your pet. (Very cold water will cause constriction of the blood vessels and impede cooling.) Just because your animal "appears" cooled, do NOT assume everything is fine. Internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, brain, etc., are definitely affected by the body temperature elevation, and blood tests and veterinary examination are needed to assess this.
Enjoy the hot weather this summer, but leave your best friend at home if you can't take him in with you at every stop!
Also don't miss this week's pet of the week: Patrick. Patrick is available for adoption right now, for FREE, at the Seattle Humane Society.