Help your hot dog to cool down. | Unsplash
Summer is hitting us hard and the heat this week has reached near historic levels. The heat is harsh on humans, and local experts warn it’s even more harmful to pets.
Humans can turn on the air conditioner, have a cold drink, or take a swim in the pool. Health professionals suggest wearing loose clothing, reducing physical activity outdoors, and staying hydrated. Some of that same approach logic also applies to pets.
“Your animals are not much different from you,” said Nick Cullen, director of Kern County Animal Services in Bakersfield. “If you take precautions for yourself, do the same for your animals.”
In the Kern Valley, even after this heat wave has passed, the hottest months of the year are ahead – the month with the highest average temperature is July, at 85.8 ° F. However, Cullen warns, animal shelters see an increased admission cycle from late April to late October. The strong heat this week contributes, but no more than usual.
He said that in order to combat the effects of heat on animals, pet owners should use common sense and treat their furry friends as they would themselves… or their children.
“We advocate prevention,” he said. “Pay attention to the temperature and conditions and know that just like with small children, limit the time your pet spends outdoors. Keep them cool indoors with the air conditioning on, make sure they have cool water, and watch them for lethargy or heavy gasps.
Cullen also suggests establishing a good relationship with a vet and asking questions if you have any concerns.
“Don’t shave your dogs for the summer. Hair is an insulator and dogs can easily get sunburned, ”he said.
It also warns against walking your dog or letting your cat walk on the hot pavement.
“Your pet is not that different from you,” Cullen said. “Take precautions and if you burn your feet on the sidewalk, think about your dog. Your pet has soft, sensitive pads and no shoes. Walking on hot pavement can quickly burn an animal’s pads.
Cullen suggests keeping your pet hydrated and never leaving them in a car in the summer. According to a report from the Humane Society of the United States on the danger of leaving animals in cars, you should “never leave your animals in a parked car.” For example, on an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
“If you understand that you can’t leave a small child in a car, then understand that you can’t leave a dog in a car,” Cullen said. “Breaking a window is useless. Leave your pets at home.
Kimberly Manning, an animal rescuer for 15 years at the Kern County Animal Shelter in Lake Isabella, had similar advice on managing the heat.
“The two no-nos leave a dog in a car and take it for a walk on hot pavement with no foot protection,” Manning said. “I’m talking about anything over 85 degrees for both. When I have a dog in a summer car, I run the air conditioning even though I have to leave the car for a moment, the air conditioning is on.
Animal care experts advise people to watch their dogs in hot weather. Cullen identified the lethargy and heavy panting as signs to look for.
“Signs of heatstroke include severe panting that does not go away when the animal is resting, a gum color that changes from its normal bright pink to lighter tones, and a dark red tongue,” Manning said. If overheating, she says, “wet a cold towel and place it between the dog’s chest and armpits to cool them.”
“If you suspect that a dog or cat is suffering from heat stroke, immediately move them to a cooler environment and apply cool water to the abdomen, ears and pads,” Cullen said. . “To avoid shock, do not pour ice water on the whole. Animal, immerse it in a cold water bath or cover it with a cold, damp blanket. Once it is stable, get him to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible, even if he seems to be cooling down and his temperature seems normal. Things can happen inside that are not obvious from the outside. “
The most important thing to remember is that your pets rely on you and are your responsibility.
“New dog owners should never bring home an animal unless they are prepared to make a long-term commitment to an animal that ‘fits’ their lifestyle and environment,” said Manning. child.”
“Take care of your pets in the heat and at all times,” Cullen said. “They depend on you.”