Summer is coming up! We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our fur babies. However, if you are not careful, the summer heat can be very dangerous for them.
Overheating in animals is not something to take lightly. Heat exhaustion in animals can lead to serious and potentially fatal conditions. Heatstroke is one of the most common condition that can be caused by the summer heat. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition suffered when an animal is unable to lower its body temperature. Cells in the body become damaged when the core body temperature reaches anywhere between 106 degrees and 109 degrees.
The most common cause of heatstroke in pets happens when they are left in parked cars.
A study showed that the temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30 degrees, and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. This study also found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle. Your fur babies may suffer irreversible organ damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Never leave your fur babies in a parked car!
Here are some simple precautions to prevent your pet from overheating.
- Know the warning signs of overheating, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drooling, mild weakness or even collapsing. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature.
- Fur babies can get dehydrated quickly. Give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors.
- When the temperature is very high, don’t let your fur baby on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, their body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Walk your fur baby on the grass if possible, or keep walks during these times to a minimum.
- Fur babies with flat faces, like pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heatstroke since they cannot pant as effectively. All pets, especially flat faced, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Using a hand towel or a bath towel that has been dampened can help your fur babies to lower their body temperature. Place the towel under his/her forelimbs, between hind legs, and paw pads. Do not use icepacks. Lowering their temperature too quickly could be as just as dangerous as overheating.
Having the knowledge of how to recognize overheating, how to respond and how to avoid it in the first place, you can look forward to a safe, fun and happy summer with your fur babies!