Many see the summer heat as a source of fun and entertainment. However, for pets, the hot weather can be deadly if precautions aren’t taken. The increased temperature, and the increased population of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes that accompany it, can spell trouble for your furry friend. Holland Lake Animal Hospital wants to help you protect your pet from these summer threats. Here are some guidelines to help your pet stay healthy and safe this summer.
Do know the signs of heat exhaustion, and don’t ignore them
Signs of heat exhaustion may be subtle at first, but can quickly escalate. The good news is that the signs can easily be detected. Typically, dogs will begin to pant excessively and become sluggish. If you suspect your pet is starting to overheat, immediately remove him from the sun and give him fresh, cool water.
A high fever (i.e., a temperature above 103 degrees) also indicates heat exhaustion. When a pet’s temperature reaches 106 degrees, he is experiencing heatstroke and should receive immediate medical attention. Other signs of heat exhaustion include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, bright red gums or tongue, dizziness, or seizures. If your pet exhibits any of these signs, perform the following and then contact us immediately:
- Move your pet to a shady, cool spot.
- If possible, take his temperature rectally.
- Apply cool water to his neck, armpits, abdomen, groin, and paw pads with a spray bottle or wet towels. You can also apply small amounts of isopropyl alcohol to his paw pads.
- Call us at 817-599-9971 and let us know you are on the way.
Do exercise your pet, but don’t exercise during the hottest parts of the day
Exercising with your dog is a great way for you both to stay healthy, but exercising during the hottest part of the day can put your dog at risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Instead, walk your dog in the early morning or late evening. Also, check the pavement before you head out. Asphalt and concrete retain the sun’s heat and can quickly burn your dog’s paw pads. If the walking surface is too hot to your touch, it is too hot for your dog. When you do exercise your dog, take frequent breaks, and ensure he has plenty of water.
Do leave your pets at home, and don’t leave them in the car
Hundreds of pets die each year from heat-related causes. On a hot day, the interior of the car can become an oven. In fact, on a 72-degree day, your car’s interior can rise to 96 degrees in minutes, and parking your car in the shade with the windows down will not make it any more pleasant or safe for anyone sitting inside, including your pet. Quick car trips to the store or other errands can put your pet at risk of heatstroke, which could prove to be deadly, so leave him at home in air-conditioned comfort and safety.
Do have your veterinarian evaluate your pet’s health, and don’t forget parasite prevention
Increased numbers of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are more active in the warm weather, and whether you take your dog to the park or he plays in the backyard, these parasites will be waiting for him. Ask our team which parasite preventives are best for your pet and his lifestyle.
How prepared is your pet for the heat? Some health conditions, like heart problems, can be exacerbated in hot weather but can be managed with veterinary care. Contact us, and we can help keep your pet healthy and happy this summer.