Part 1 Of 3 Summer Safety For Pets: Safety In The Heat
Prevention is vital in keeping our pets safe and healthy. The warmer months can be uncomfortable and sometimes hazardous for pets, but there are many easy ways to prepare for, and avoid, the dangers of summer.
Safety in the Heat
Dogs can overheat easily and can’t cool themselves off as efficiently as we can. Preventing heat stroke is far easier than treating it. Make sure your dog has shade when outside and unlimited access to fresh water. Try a kiddie pool! Your dog will be able to cool off and get a drink when it heats up. If you have a real pool, don’t leave your dog unsupervised, don’t let them drink from it and make sure to rinse off chemicals after each swim.
If you leave your pet home alone, fans are often not enough as they do not cool dogs and cats the way they cool people. Our pets enjoy air conditioning as much as we do, but many of our Lakewood homes aren’t equipped. Try a cooling pad or set them up with a cold spot in the basement or on a bathroom floor. Make sure they have cold, fresh water and check on them often. Ask a neighbor to let you know if there is a power outage when you’re not home and your pets are shut inside the house.
During warm weather, please remember these tips to keep your pet cool:
- Offer access to unlimited fresh water! Animals should always have fresh, clean water available. Bring portable water bowls on walks and car rides.
- Provide shade when outside.
- To avoid hot pavement, try a 5 second test; if it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for theirs.
- Limit exercise or take walks early in the morning or late at night.
- Keep all of your windows screened so your pets don’t fall out.
- Apply sunscreen, especially to dogs with thin coats.
Signs that an animal is overheated:
- Excessive panting/difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat/respiration
- Mild weakness, stupor or collapse
- Seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomit
- A body temperature of over 104 degrees
Breeds with flat faces (pugs, bulldogs, Persian cats) and those with dark or thicker coats are more likely to struggle with dehydration and heat stroke because they can’t cool themselves down as effectively as others. These breeds, as well as elderly or overweight pets and those who suffer from heart or lung disease should spend as much time as possible in air conditioned rooms.
If your animal is experiencing heat stroke, the first thing to do is get them out of the heat. Then you’ll want to use cool (not cold) water to bring their temperature down, either in the tub or with wet rags on the back of the neck and in the groin area. Having these tips in mind will allow you to act quickly in an emergency.
Visit PetMD.com to learn how to treat a pet with heat stroke: http://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/common-emergencies/e_dg_heat_stroke.
NEVER Leave Your Pet Unattended in the Car.
Your vehicle can get dangerously hot very quickly, causing your animal organ damage or even death. Rolling down the windows has little effect, according to The Humane Society of the United States. When it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour. When it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes. Your pet just isn’t safe alone in the car.
Even if you think it’s cool enough to leave your dog in the car, someone else could disagree. Lakewood Animal Control fields calls from Good Samaritans non-stop in the summer. “You could leave your pet in the car for one minute and someone will call us,” says Animal Control Officer Kurt Bialosky. “Leave them at home.”
If you see a pet stuck in a hot car, here are some steps you can take to help:
- Get the make, model and license plate number.
- Go into nearby businesses and ask management to make an announcement to find the owner.
- If the owner can’t be found immediately, and you think the animal is in danger, call Animal Control at (216) 529-5020.
The key to ensuring the safety of our pets during the summer is keeping a watchful eye on them. The change of season brings new challenges but all of these potential dangers can be prevented. Keep in mind that our animals are totally reliant on us to keep them out of harm’s way. Have a happy and healthy summer with your pets!
Stay Tuned for Part Two: Keeping Your Pets Safe Over the Fourth of July Holiday
Important Numbers - Save These in Your Phone, Just In Case!
Lakewood Animal Control / Animal Shelter
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
Emergency Vet Services
West Park Animal Hospital
After Hours Emergency Services from 6 pm - 1 am
4117 Rocky River Drive
Cleveland, OH 44135
Animal Emergency Clinic West
Open 24/7 Including Holidays
14000 Keystone Pkwy.
Brook Park, OH 44135
Member of the Lakewood Animal Safety and Welfare Advisory Board