Pet and Heat Safety
With temperatures reaching into the 100’s across the country, the topic of keeping cool is on everyone’s mind. A simple walk to the mailbox brings on buckets of sweat and a need for a cool drink. As hard as the heat is on many in the area, don’t forget to take a minute to think about how this may be affecting your pets as well. Make sure to plan for their comfort and safety during these sweltering days. A great rule of thumb: if you’re uncomfortable, so is your pet.
Yes, our pets suffer from the hot weather just like we do. Some are not well suited for the hot Florida days and have a more difficult time tolerating the heat, such as Siberian Huskies and Malamutes. Some breeds can be genetically predisposed to certain conditions and the heat can make these conditions worse. Labrador Retrievers and Border Collies can inherit a condition called Exercise Induced Collapse in which extreme excitement induces weakness and a sudden collapse. (visit the American Kennel Club at www.akcchf.org for more information on this condition)
So how can we make sure that our friends are safe from the soaring summer temperatures? Make sure to take precautions and know these safety tips:
· Never, ever leave a pet inside a vehicle, even with the windows down. The heat inside a vehicle can build up quickly and cause death in just a few minutes. Even pets left in cars with the air conditioning on can suffer heat exhaustion as some vehicles air conditioners to not function properly while idling, blowing warm air into an already warm environment.
· Dogs don’t sweat like people do – they only have sweat glands on their footpads so they must pant to lose body heat. Those breeds with flat faces are more susceptible to heat illness because they have difficulty panting. Additionally, older dogs and puppies are also at risk.
· Exercise your dogs early in the morning when the heat index is lower and the pavement hasn’t had a chance to fully heat up. Remember, you pets are close to the ground and the radiating heat affects them rapidly. Also remember that asphalt and concrete can be dangerously hot, causing painful burns to the pads of the feet. A quick test – if it is too hot for your bare feet it is too hot for your pet.
· Even outside dogs need proper shelter. A dog house that isn’t under the protection of a shade tree is like taking shelter in an oven. Provide proper shelter for your pet by providing necessary shade.
· Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Just like us, our pets will need increased water intake during hot weather. Keep clean water available inside and fresh bowls each morning while playing outside.
· Don’t forget sunscreen. Breeds with sensitive skin and very short hair can get sunburned, especially around their nose.
Your pets are members of your family so make sure you use good judgment to make this summer a happy and healthy one for your four legged friends.
For more information on this story, visit the American Kennel Club at www.akcchf.org or contact Susan Lindenmuth, Director of Public Affairs for Estero Fire Rescue at (230) 390-8000.