If you’ve been outside lately, then you know it’s hot!  And, it’s only going to get hotter as the summer progresses.  As oppressive as the heat is on us, think about your pet and the sun beating down on his/her fur coat.  High temps can pose a serious threat to pets during outside time, and even mild days can affect him/her when trapped in a car.  With these upper-80s and lower-90s days this week and next, it’s a great time to brush up on heat safety and your pet.

We’ve all heard it before: NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A HOT CAR!  Some areas, including Montgomery County, have laws against it.  But how many people really understand what this safety rule means?  How many times have we seen people leave a dog in the car with the windows down?  How many times have we seen others “run” in a store and leave a trapped pet behind?  It happens more than it should.  Did you know that even a 72-degree day can be harmful to a pet trapped in a car?  And cracking the windows doesn’t make that much of a difference.  Plus, putting the windows down could provide an escape route for your dog!  As a good rule of thumb, never leave your pet in the car.  If you can’t take him/her inside the places you are going, then leave him at home.

Leaving a pet outside in the heat without proper shelter and enough water is just as big of a risk to his/her health as leaving him in the hot car.  Make sure your dog is not left outside in a pen or chained in the yard without shade or shelter and plenty of water.  Heatstroke is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately.  On your way to medical treatment, you can lower your pet’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of your pet’s body.  Your pet may seem to recover after beginning to cool down, but his temperature can soar back up or drop below normal!  He must be seen by a veterinarian immediately.  What are the signs of heatstroke in your pet?

From the American Animal Hospital Association:

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

Precautions to take if your pet lives outdoors

  • Ensure adequate shelter from sun/midday heat
  • Outdoor kennels should be well-ventilated and in the shade
  • Provide plenty of fresh water in a bowl that cannot be tipped over
  • Avoid excessive exercise on hot days
  • Talk with your local veterinarian to determine if your long-haired pet needs a summer haircut

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, give us a call immediately at 301-258-0333.  Finally, ever wonder just how miserable it is inside a hot car?  In this eye-opening video, well-known veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward spent some time inside one to find out.