With scorching temperatures expected across many parts of the country over the next few days, the ASPCA wants to remind pet parents to keep their animals safe, and has offered a few tips on making sure your pets don't get overheated.
- Keep Cool: Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of water when it's hot outdoors. Also, make sure your pets have a shady place to escape the sun if outside, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot. For those pet parents who enjoy taking their animals with them when they drive, they should never leave their animals unattended in a parked vehicle. "Parked cars, even with windows open, become very hot in a short amount of time, and this can lead to heatstroke or death," says Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. On an 85-degree day, it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees, even with the windows cracked an inch or two; and in 30 minutes, the inside of a locked car can reach 120 degrees!
- Spot the Symptoms: The symptoms of overheating in pets can include an increased heart rate, drooling, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, mild weakness, seizures and an elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees). Elderly, overweight, and pets with heart or lung diseases are more susceptible to heatstroke. Pets with short muzzles like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats become overheated because they cannot effectively pant. These pets should be kept in air conditioning to stay cool.
- Splash Safely: While the temperatures are ideal for a dip, it's important to not leave dogs unsupervised around a pool, as not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear a flotation device on board a boat. Rinse your dog after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause an upset stomach. Also, make sure that your pet does not have access to the concentrated pool chemicals, as they are highly toxic to animals if ingested.
Beware of "High-Rise Syndrome": During warmer months, many animal hospitals and veterinarians see an increase in injured animals as a result of "High-Rise Syndrome," which occurs when pets--especially cats--fall out of windows and are seriously or fatally injured. Keep all unscreened windows in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
"Cats perched near windows can get easily distracted by what's going on outside, causing them to lose their balance and fall," says Dr. Emmy Pointer, staff internist and medical coordinator at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. "The good news, though, is that high-rise syndrome is 100 percent preventable and the money spent to ensure your pets' safety could end up saving you thousands of dollars in avoidable medical expenses."
Additional information about how to protect your pets in hot weather can be found at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/hot-weather-tips.aspx