Pet Safety In Hot Weather
by Perk Valley Pet Eatery
July 16, 2019
Written By: Tracy Jaworski, Marketing and Events Coordinator at PVPE
When you feel warm or even hot, chances are your pets do as well. Our furry friends can be susceptible to overheating, heatstroke, dehydration and other heat-related illnesses just like us. Fun in the sun can quickly turn to tragedy if pet owners don’t take precautions to prevent cat and dog heatstroke dangers. Pet heatstroke is common because cats and dogs can’t effectively keep cool in hot summer weather. Cats cool their body much like dogs do, through minor perspiration on the foot pads and by panting, which allows them to dissipate heat by evaporation. Neither is a very effective cooling system for extreme heat situations. Remember that even at a reasonable starting temperature, the temperature in a small space can soar dangerously high without ventilation.
If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms—especially if it’s hot outside—he might be at risk for heat-related illnesses and you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
- When you see more of the whites of a dog’s eye than you are accustomed to seeing
- Panting or drooling; noticing a change in color of the dog’s tongue or if it is swollen
- Seeing a dog acting frantic at the end of a lead or lying flat out
If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms—especially if it’s hot outside—he might be at risk for heat-related illnesses and you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Cat panting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark red or grayish gums
- Increased body temperature
How to treat heat stroke in cats and dogs:
- Immediately move your pet to a cooler area, either indoors where there is air conditioning or in the shade under a fan.
- Use a rectal thermometer (ONLY if you are comfortable doing so safely) to check his temperature. If his temperature is above 104°F (40°C), begin cooling by spraying cool (not cold) water over their body. If you have a fan handy, you can turn it on and have it blow over him – this will improve evaporative cooling. Stop cooling once his temperature reaches 103.5°F (39.7°C).
- Use cool, wet cloths or towels to help him out. Place your cool wet cloths on his neck, armpits, and between his hind legs, and you can also gently wet his ears and paw pads with cool water.
- If he’s conscious and willing to drink, give him cool, fresh water. Don’t force it, however, as it may end up in his lungs. If he can’t or won’t drink, or can’t keep water down, wet his tongue with water instead. Don’t feed him ice cubes, which could cause his temperature to drop too quickly, leading to shock.
- Get him to the vet. If you haven’t already done so, call ahead so they can be ready to take immediate action as soon as you arrive.
RULES OF THUMB FOR ASPHALT DOG SAFETY:
- As a basic ‘rule of paw’-If the pavement feels too hot for your barefoot, it is too hot for Fido’s.
- Pressing your own bare hands and feet on the pavement for at least 5-7 seconds is a recommended strategy to assess heat level.
- If the 5-7 second test yields a comfortable temperature, it is still critical to consider other factors to assess safety accurately.
- The air temperature is NOT an accurate reflection of ground temperature at all!
- Asphalt and other ground surfaces retain heat and this temperature rises exponentially as heat and sun exposure continues.
- Furthermore, the time of day is very relevant!
- Asphalt soaks up the heat all day and can only cool down at a certain rate and only when the sun retreats- so pavement that was deemed safe for a walk at 9 am may differ greatly at high noon and into the early evening.
If you want to take an outing with your dog in the summer think water! Even non-water dogs still like to run along the edge and get their doggie tootsies wet and your feet will like it better too.
***LEAVING DOGS/CATS IN HOT CARS***
There is a new Pennsylvania law aimed to protect dogs and cats from being left unattended in hot cars. The law allows law enforcement to enter a car if an animal is believed to be in danger or neglect. Here’s what you should know about the new law:
➡️ A police officer, humane officer, animal control officer or other public safety professional can remove a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle if they believe the dog or cat is in imminent danger or harm after a reasonable search for the operator of the vehicle.
➡️ The officer who removes a dog or cat from the hot vehicle must leave a conspicuous note for the owner that includes the officer’s information and details on where to pick up the pet.
➡️ The police officer, humane officer, or public safety professional who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle is protected from liability for any damages.
A pet should NEVER be left unattended in a car on even warm days, even just for five minutes. Cracking a window is NOT sufficient. However, if YOU see a pet in a hot car who you think is in danger, and you try to save it yourself, the law does NOT protect civilians unfortunately (however I’m sure people will use judgment when a life is at stake). If you encounter a situation in which you feel an animal inside a car is in danger, the SPCA recommends first taking down the car’s make, model and license plate number (or take a photo). Then, go into nearby businesses to ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner, the SPCA advises. If the owner can’t be found, then call 911 immediately.
It’s one thing to put your dog outside to get some fresh air. It’s another to let a dog spend its life at the end of a chain. Knowing the difference is not only good for your pet’s well-being but in Pennsylvania, it is now a matter of living by the law or breaking it.
The recently enacted Libre’s law, described as the most comprehensive animal protection measure in state history, spells out for the first-time in Pennsylvania rules on tethering. Contact your local authorities if you see a dog in distress outside being tethered in this heat!
Specifically, this law requires:
- A leash must be three times the length of the pet or 10 feet, whichever is longer.
- No tow or logged chain or pinch, choke, or prong collars used with a tether.
- A well-fitted collar and no open sores or wounds on the dog’s body.
- The lead must be on a swivel and ideally a lead that has a coated cover to avoid getting tangled.
- The area where the pet is kept must be kept clear of excessive feces with access to drinkable water and shade.
- No more than 30 minutes tied up when temperatures are lower than 32 degrees or higher than 90 degrees.
During this hot stretch of weather be sure to check on elderly neighbors and of course your pets. Stay safe and cool everyone!