Seattle Humane: keep your furry friends safe from the heat

Friday, August 12, 2016

Information courtesy Seattle Humane

From Seattle Humane

With temperatures soaring into the 80's, Seattle Humane reminds pet owners to keep their furry friends safe from the heat. Do not leave your pet in your vehicle. Even at 70 degrees, the interior of a car can rise to 160 degrees in less than five minutes. Parking in the shade with the windows cracked is also dangerous.

Your pet’s foot pads contain sweat glands that help keep him cool, and the feet are particularly vulnerable to hot surfaces. Sidewalks, pavement, sand, and especially black asphalt can reach blistering temperatures in direct sunlight and cause nasty burns on your pet’s feet.

Signs of burned foot pads include:

• Limping or refusing to walk
• Foot pads appearing darker in color than usual
• Raw, red or blistered foot pads
• Licking or chewing on the feet

Take preventative measures and protect your pet’s feet by walking your pet earlier in the day before the sun heats things up. You can also walk on grassy paths or shady areas. Water play is refreshing but take steps to keep your pet safe! Tender foot pads softened from prolonged water exposure can burn more easily. Dog owners should take extra care to protect dogs’ feet from hot surfaces after water play.

[Ed. note: cats with white or light colored ears can get their ears sunburnt which can lead to infection. At least one vet advised that the only solution for severely sunburnt ears was to amputate the burnt parts.]

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 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.

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 your pet has become overheated, seek veterinary care immediately.

Signs of heat stroke include:
  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Reddened gums or tongue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Lethargy

At home consider your pet's housing. If they are kept outdoors, make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh water at all times. If it’s hot out, consider hosing down the dog before work, at lunch or whenever you can to provide extra cooling.

If you suspect that your pet has suffered from a heat stroke, 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). If your animal “appears” cooled, do not assume everything is fine. Internal organs such as liver, kidneys, brain, etc., are affected by elevated body temperatures and blood tests and veterinary examination are needed to assess this.

Enjoy the hot weather, but if you are driving, leave your best friend at home if you can’t take him in with you at every stop!


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