We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, follow this advice from ASPCA experts.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle
Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states! Currently, 26 states have laws that concern companion animals left unattended in parked vehicles under dangerous conditions, such as intense weather conditions. Some of these laws involve legal action against the vehicle owner, while other laws protect those who may use forcible means—such as smashing a window—to rescue the animal from the car.
To better understand the laws in your state, and to better prepare yourself for an emergency situation such as this, check out this full list of state laws concerning animals left unattended in vehicles. Also be aware that even in jurisdictions without such specific laws, endangering an animal’s life in this way could be prosecuted under general anti-cruelty statutes.
Know the signs of heatstroke, and how to prevent it
Symptoms of overheating in pets can include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
You’ll want to keep an eye out for these signs of distress, but you’ll also want to ensure that your pet is properly hydrated at all times. Make sure you give your pets plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Ensure that your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them and use your best judgment to keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot. Never let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during peak daytime hours to a minimum.
Also keep in mind that animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively as others. These pets, along with elderly and overweight animals, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Haircuts can be helpful also
Feel free to trim longer hair on your pets, but never shave them down to the skin. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. Be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
For other ways to help, check out ASPCA’s full list of hot weather safety tips, and download and share their hot weather safety infographic to alert others of the dangers pets may face during the summer.
(Images and story provided by ASPCA.)