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Summer Heat Pet Dangers

Hot Car Danger One of the greatest dangers to a pet during warm weather months is being left alone inside a car. Temperatures inside cars can rise faster than expected to dangerous levels even on days that aren’t particularly hot. Cracking open car windows is not effective at keeping a car cool. Even with the windows cracked open, a car can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit after just 10 minutes on an 85 degree day. In 30 minutes the temperature can reach 120 degrees! Every year, in communities across the country, untold numbers of pets suffer brain damage, heat stroke, and even death while their owners run “a quick errand” and leave their animal in the car.

Outdoor Dangers Dogs and cats have higher resting body temperatures than humans. They also lack some of the cooling abilities we as humans have such as full body sweating and the ability to change into cooler clothes. The most important difference between a pet and a person is that a pet can’t tell you when it has gotten too hot out for them to handle. Similarly, an unfortunately common injury to animals during the summertime is suffering from burnt paw pads from hot concrete. Pets cannot tell you if sidewalks or parking lots are too hot for their feet. Be constantly mindful of this and don't walk your animals on these surfaces during the heat. If it's too hot to press and hold the back of your hand against, it's too hot for animal paws. Alternatively, walk your dog in the early hours of the morning, later in the evening, or even avoid hot surfaces completely by seeking grassy areas to explore. If you have a smaller animal, consider carrying them when going over hot surfaces. Be extra cautious to not allow cats to get loose during extreme heat and always check paw pads for injuries when they return from being outdoors.

Sun Danger Pets are susceptible to sunburn just like humans. Even though they may have fur covering the majority of their bodies, certain areas with thin fur, bald patches, exposed areas like noses, or areas with lighter-colored fur can become sunburned if pets spend too much time outside in the sun. Cats are generally able to care for themselves and will stop sunbathing if they feel discomfort - as long as they are provided a suitable area to escape the sun's rays. However, dog owners need to take their animal's sun exposure into account when spending time outside. Consider dog-friendly sunscreens that won't caused harm if ingested by your animal. Make sure to reapply often and monitor your pet's skin for any sign of irritation.

Look For Signs Of Heat Exhaustion Unlike people, dogs do not have sweat glands over their entire body, only on their feet pads and nose. Instead, dogs use panting to regulate their body heat. This can be much less efficient on a hot day for regulating body temperature. Dogs can also get caught up in the fun of playing outdoors or keeping up with their owners and ignore that they are overexerting themselves in the heat. Look for these warning signs of overheating in your pet:

Excessive or more rapid panting than usual Extreme thirst and drinking more than usual Glazed or unfocusing eyes Unsteadiness on their feet Bright or dark red gums and tongue Excessive drooling Rapid heartbeat Elevated body temperature Weakness and shaking Vomiting

Take Action When you notice these signs in either your dog or cat, you must take action quickly. Depending on the seriousness of the situation you may attempt to cool the animal yourself or take it to the veterinarian. Get animals out of the heat and into some place cool and in the shade. Give them plenty of water for hydration. If you have any question at all about the seriousness of the situation, take them to the veterinarian right away. Heatstroke is very dangerous and can be deadly!

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