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Ask the veterinarian: protect pets from summer scorchers

Aug 17

Categories: Blog

Temperatures are soaring into the 80s, 90s, 100+ and such intense heat is not only dangerous for people but for their pets, too. #yourpetsvet offers some summertime safety suggestions to protect pets during summer heat waves.

Cars are potential death traps during even mild temperature days but more so during the hot summer months because temps inside the car can quickly exceed more than 120 degrees! It's best therefore to leave your pets home in the air conditioning or with a stable fan safely running while you're out running errands during hot weather.

With temperature and humidity levels reaching  peak highs, make sure you provide plenty of water (even put some ice cubes in the bowl: I know my kids really enjoy bobbing for ice cubes!).

If your pet is panting, has a staring or anxious expression, does not obey commands, seems disoriented, has a rapid heart beat (normal =80-120 in most breeds of dogs and up to 240 in cats) you need to cool them quickly with cool (not cold) water and get them into a cooler area. Pets don't sweat and they can easily overheat: this situation is an EMERGENCY! Call your veterinarian immediately or go to the local pet emergency room for advice and urgent care life saving treatment.

If your pet normally lives outdoors, make sure there is adequate shelter for protection from sun and heat.  Outdoor kennels should be well ventilated and in shaded areas. Refill water containers frequently and provide greater amounts of water- we all need to drink more during the hot temp days and nights. Rabbit hutches should be moved to the shade or placed in cooler areas of the house. Fill a soda with water and freeze it to place in the hutch as an "in-cage" air conditioner. There should always be shade for the pet to get out of the sun.

Remember, exercise is important but avoid overexertion which can lead to heat stroke. Walk your dogs early and then later after the sun starts to set to avoid heat stressors and, once home, provide cool water to drink and/or rinse them down with water from garden hose (remember the standing water in the hose is also exposed to heat so let it run a few minutes checkng the water temperature for coolness prior to using: you don't want to scorch your pet with hot water from the hose to avoid adding insult to injury!)

Keep your well groomed : we can help with that as our groomer is ready and able to keep long hair clipped and mats removed which can help cool your pets. Also keeping the "sanitary area" clipped short (kind of like a "brazilian") preventing urine and feces from attracting insects who like to lay their eggs in this organic material; add heat and viola` you have maggots:(

And, watch for additional summer safety suggestions as drdeb appears on News 12 NJ PetStop scheduled to air this weekend.