Sunday, June 12, 2011
Given the heat index, this seems like a perfect time to go over the heat rules for animals.
The first one that everyone is familiar with is never leave your cat or dog in a hot car. On an 85 degree day the temperature inside a car can climb to 102 in ten minutes. Unlike humans, animals can't sweat it off. Panting is the mechanism an animal uses to reduce its body heat. If you see an animal locked in a hot car that appears in distress, call the local shelter or 911.
Also be careful just walking your pet. We walked our dog the other day in the evening and she still got overheated. I'm sure her age factored into it, but it was the first time I'd had to deal with heat stress. Its very unnerving. An animal can go down quickly . Luckily, we were close enough to the house to get her into a cooler environment.
Keep plenty of cool, clean water available for your pet.
If your animal is outdoors make sure it has plenty of shade.
We get our indoor/outdoor cat a lion cut every summer. It helps keep her comfortable on warm days.
If your cat is indoors make sure she/he isn't kept in a hot room with no way to cool down.
White cats are prone to sunburn. If your white cat is outdoors, you may want to use a vet-recommended sunscreen on the tips of his/her ears and nose.
If you are unsure whether an animal is suffering from heat stress, here is signs to watch for:
Change in the color of the gums and tongue
Rapid heart and pulse rate
What to do to relieve heat stress:
Get your animal into a cool environment
Give them small amounts of water to drink
Wet the animal down with cool water
Apply cold towels to the head, chest and neck
Immerse paws in cool water
Take the animal to a veterinarian
And last but not least, don't forget to take care of yourself on these hot summer days. Enjoy them, but be smart.