Keep pets safe in the summer heat

While pets are acclimating to the new season, develop an exercise plan that will get them safely through to those hotter summer months. Valley News/Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – Summer is in full swing, and the hot weather can be unbearable for people and animals alike. The American Humane Society suggested a few pet safety tips for the summer heat.

Regular exercise, surprisingly, can be dangerous for pets at this time of year.

Even if pets are active, get exercise every day and are in excellent physical shape, pet owners may want to scale back their activities or change their exercise routine to the cooler hours of the morning or evening. That adjustment will allow them to acclimate to the increases in daily temperatures that occur during those spring-into-summer days.

Remember, humans can take off their “winter coats” and put on T-shirts and shorts as the days suddenly grow hotter. However, at this time of year, pets are often still wearing the remnants of their winter wardrobes.

And while people have the capacity to perspire and cool themselves during exercise, their furred friends are limited in how they can cool themselves, relying on panting and limited sweating through the bottoms of their feet.

While pets are acclimating to the new season, develop an exercise plan that will get them safely through to those hotter summer months.

A pet in a closed vehicle is not cool. Nearly everyone knows that leaving a pet in a closed vehicle on a 100-degree day is dangerous; however, it is the pleasant days of spring and early summer that can be the most dangerous for pets left in vehicles.

Many people forget that pets are affected by heat much more quickly than humans are, and that leaving a pet in a car for “just a minute” can have a deadly outcome. Remember that cars heat up fast – even with the windows cracked.

At home outdoors, ensure that pets have access to shade and fresh water at all times. A trip to the supermarket or dentist’s office may take longer than expected. Temperatures in a yard can increase to high levels in just a few hours, and heat stroke can become a serious issue.

Heat stroke requires immediate veterinary attention. Heat stroke can be deadly. Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, and coma.

If a pet owner suspects heat stroke, they should seek veterinary treatment for the pet as soon as possible.

Pet owners can provide some immediate treatment using cool, but not icy, water to lower their pet’s temperature by submerging the pet in a tub of water, wetting them with a hose or sponging them down.

If the pet showed signs of heat stroke but has been cooled and now appears fine, do not assume that all is well. Internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys and the brain, are all affected by extreme body temperature elevation. It is best to have a veterinarian examine the pet to assess potential health complications and ensure that other risks are not overlooked.

Pet owners can enjoy these spring-into-summer days with their furred friends – just be sure to take a few precautions and stay cool.

Submitted by the American Humane Society.