Summer is great, but it has its hazards, especially for your dog.
Dr. Mike Cavanaugh, executive director and CEO of the Denver, CO-based American Animal Hospital Association has some good advice for dog lovers.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
Even with all the publicity on this one, it still happens.
According to the AAA Chicago Motor Club, if it is 85 degrees outside, and despite having open windows for cross-circulation, the dashboard of a car can heat up to 170 degrees in 15 minutes. It’s perfectly logical why dogs can die in hot cars.
“How hot it can get in a car just blows me away,” said Cavanaugh “It seems every year people talk about not leaving their dog in a hot car, yet every year we learn about dogs who need emergency treatment, and some don’t make it,” adds Cavanaugh.
It is in fact against the law to leave a dog on it’s own inside a hot car in most communities and several states. Some jurisdictions on the other hand, do not take the law seriously. However, more and more public officials and police officers — usually dog owners themselves — want to see the laws enforced.
The heat index affects dogs too
“Also, keep track of the heat index. Just as the heat and humidity combined affects people, it also affects dogs,” Cavanaugh adds. “I love taking my dog, Zoe, with me. But when temperatures get really hot, I’ll leave Zoe home in the air conditioning unless I know I can take Zoe in with me wherever I’m going.”
Cavanaugh states that even during very hot weather, Zoe, a Border Collie, plays fetch all day long.
“At some point, I just know, even if she wants more, it’s time to stop,” he notes.
For dogs left outside in daytime, Chicago veterinarian Dr. Sheldon Rubin says, “They must have shade and plenty of water. In fact, we suggest a children’s wading pool so the dog has the option to walk around or sit inside it to keep cool.”
Supervise your dogs swimming
Interestingly, regular swimming pools can also be a problem.
“Sometimes, even dogs who are capable swimmers like, Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands can easily jump into the pool and swimming is no problem, but they can’t get out because there’s no ramp,” says Rubin. “Adult supervision around a pool is always a good idea.”
Rubin also recommends all dogs wear life preservers created for dogs when swimming in open water.
Don’t run with your dog in full sun
Cavanaugh also advises running when there is no full sun, early in the morning, or perhaps in the evening. Even so, it isn’t a bad idea to take with you a water mister to spray your furry friend (and yourself). At the same time, carry water.
People normalize body their temperatures through sweating. Aside from perspiring a little from their paw pads, dogs basically don’t sweat, making them bad at cooling themselves. In addition, it is typical for dogs to run warmer body temperatures compared to people (about 101.5 on average).
Rubin states that if your dog is panting intensely during a hot day, has diarrhea, is apparently wandering aimlessly, seems confused, or simply drops to the ground, first hose down the pet (for bigger dogs) or put the animal in a tub with moderately cool (not cold) water. Of course, also get hold of your vet.
To keep your pooch cooler on hot days, do this recipe for clucksicles: Combine some (low salt) chicken bullion and freeze it in an ice cube tray.
Regarding cats, the problem takes place when it is time to go down from trees. Summer is the time when they usually scamper up. In most communities, the local fire department won’t help or ask for a fee. Our advice is to leave a can of tuna or salmon at the bottom of the tree, letting hunger to beat your pet’s fear. NEVER grab a ladder and go up after the cat. Hospital emergency rooms frequently treat people who have attempted to rescue their cats, but veterinary emergency services almost never treat cats who’ve fallen from trees.
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