Unlike humans, pets don’t have sweat glands, so they’re not able to stay cool as effectively in the heat. “Most breeds are covered in fur, which further worsens their ability to stay cool,” says Dr. Shapard. “They are also lower to the ground and more vulnerable to increased temperature.”
Combined, all of these factors can make them more susceptible to heat stroke. “We tend to forget that unlike humans, animals cannot tell us when they are not feeling well. By the time we notice that they are not doing well, they are already in dangerous territory and an intervention. immediate is essential to save their lives. “
Your pets rely on you to keep them cool and comfortable no matter the weather. Follow Dr. Shapards’ advice on keeping your pets cool in hot weather and learn to recognize the signs of heat stroke. It can save your pet’s life.
How to keep your pets cool in extreme heat
1. Give them plenty of water to keep them hydrated
Animals need more water to stay hydrated during the summer. Regularly fill the bowls with cool water to help keep their body temperature low.
“Pets can’t tell us when they’re thirsty, tired, dizzy or lightheaded, natural signs of a heat stroke we experience,” says Dr. Shapard. For better prevention than cure, fill (and refill) this bowl several times a day.
2.DO NOT take them for a long walk in the middle of the day
If your dog needs to stretch their legs, Dr. Shapard recommends going early in the morning or late at night when the sun goes down and the temperatures cooler. “Don’t even think about the midday races with them,” she said.
Even on these night walks, bring water. There is a lot portable water bowls that you can bring to give them a drink halfway, like Prima Pets Collapsible Pet Bowl ($ 12) or Outward Hound Port-a-Bowl ($ 6).
3. Leave them at home with the air conditioning
If you are leaving for the day, continue to run the air conditioner. Your dog or cat will be safer with the air conditioner operating at a healthy and comfortable temperature.
Dr Shapard says you should never turn off the air conditioning if you’re away for an extended period in case they overheat and you aren’t there to help. Your best bet? Invest in a high efficiency AC unit that you can keep running without a huge electric bill.
4. NEVER leave them in the car, ever
That’s Dr Shapard’s biggest no-no. “Never never in the car, even for a few minutes, ”says Dr. Shapard. “I have seen too many DOA [dead on arrival] dogs that went into cardiac arrest after being in a car on a hot summer day. “
Your errands are not worth your pet’s life (or legal recourse, as leaving your pet unattended in a hot car is actually illegal in some states). Wait until they are home, safe in the air conditioning, to go out again.
5. Be aware of their precious paws
You wouldn’t walk barefoot on hot concrete or a hot sidewalk, would you? Your pet either. When the sun is particularly high, take note of the surfaces they step on to avoid burning their pads. While it’s important to avoid burns, Dr. Shapard stresses that keeping them hydrated is the most important thing: “Burns can be treated, but strokes can kill,” she says.
6.Don’t give them a drastic summer haircut
In theory, shaving your Saint Bernard or downy Bernese mountain dog can help keep them cool when temperatures soar. But be aware not to shave too much.
“The fur also has a protective layer against heat, and exposing its skin can cause sunburn,” says Dr. Shapard. “Just like humans, it is important for them to have sunscreen to protect their vulnerable skin which is now exposed to the heat that would otherwise have been protected by their fur. It would be better to shorten their hair but not to keep it off. shave completely. “
7. RECOGNIZE the signs of heatstroke and act immediately
According to Dr. Shapard, signs of heatstroke can include excessive drooling, excessive panting, weakness and lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, tripping, sudden collapse and seizures. If your pet displays any to follow, take them indoors to AC and give them cool, not cold, water. If they are also warm to the touch, you can also rinse them with cold water.
“I insist on the importance of the water temperature because we do not want to cause vasoconstriction [narrowing of the blood vessels] when an animal suffers from heat stroke, ”explains Dr. Shapard. This could lead to a sudden and dangerous change in blood pressure. Instead, stick to cold water.
Your best bet is to call an emergency veterinary hospital or veterinary clinic as soon as you notice distress. If you have a breed with a “smooth face,” such as a pug or Persian cat, see a vet as soon as possible.
“Their airways are already compromised,” says Dr. Shapard. “Because they are less effective at regulating their temperature through panting, they can go from unwell to sudden respiratory distress and shutdown. It can be very difficult to save them, even with the best veterinary staff in the world. edge.”
A dietary guide to the most hydrating foods (for you, not your pets):
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