Practice Basic Pet Summer Safety

 

 

Practice Basic Pet Summer Safety

The weather has finally started to warm up. Here are some basic safety tips to help keep your pets safe this spring and summer:

Never leave your pets in a parked car

Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalthe temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police.

Watch the humidity

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog’s temperature does, contact your veterinarian immediately!

Limit exercise on hot days

Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

Provide ample shade and water

Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.

Watch for signs of heat stroke

Extreme temperatures can cause heat stroke. Some signs of heat stroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

How to treat a pet suffering from heat stroke

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take your pet directly to a veterinarian.

Prepare for power outages

Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.

Please feel free to contact here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.greenbriarpets.com

 

How To Recognize Heat Exhaustion/Stroke In Dogs

Summertime is here, the heat is upon us and you may be planning vacations, weekend getaways or just some fun hikes with your dogs. You may be able to recognize the Heat Stroke In Dogsdangers of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in humans (i.e.: headache, dizziness, fatigue, disorientation, hot Dry skin, rapid heartbeat) but how do you recognize it in dogs? How is heatstroke in dogs prevented? How is it treated? Help your dog this summer by educating yourself and becoming aware of your dog’s surroundings and by using preventative measures to ensure your dog’s safety. I would recommend that you learn what are your dog’s normal resting heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature before starting out your vacation or daily hikes in the sun.

Dogs cool off by panting, exchanging warmer air from the body for the cooler air outside. They do not sweat to cool off the way humans do, although they can release some moisture through the pads of their feet. The average body temperature for a dog is between 100- 103 degrees and when the outside temperatures reach 85 – 90 degrees or more, cooling off becomes more difficult for the dog. Exercising during the heat, even just a walk, increases panting and loss of body fluid begins. Short nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and the Pekinese can overheat more quickly because they can not exchange air as efficiently. Recognizing this will help you to help your dog in the hot summer months. Most of us have heard that leaving a dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you pop into a store for something can be fatal. The inside car temperature can jump quickly on warm days as well as overcast days due to the concentration of UV rays penetrating the car’s windows. If you choose to leave your dog outside at home, make sure that the dog has plenty of cool fresh water to drink and plenty of shade. Dog runs and tie downs for dogs can be a hazard when the sun changes position and the shade moves or disappears completely. You may have to provide a shade umbrella, small wading pool, or extra bins of water.

Now that you have taken some measures to prevent heat stroke at home, let’s look at what you’ll need to be aware of when you are out and about with your dog. Hiking, long walks or even just a long day at your child’s baseball games, can be hard on your dog too. Make sure you bring plenty of water, a shade umbrella or tent and maybe even some ice and a towel to help cool off the dog’s undersides if he starts showing signs of heat exhaustion. Plan on taking water breaks in the shade every 15 minutes for at least 5 minutes on hot days when you are hiking. When you are walking on hot sand or asphalt, your dog’s feet can burn. Watch out for metal manhole covers on sidewalks. Be aware of your dog’s behavior and know what is abnormal for your dog. Learn to recognize the following symptoms and act quickly to cool your dog down

Heatstroke symptoms include:

  • Rapid, sometimes frantic, excessive panting
  • Tongue and mucus membranes are bright pink or red and the saliva is thick and tenacious (drooling does not mean that your dog is hydrated! Check the consistency of the drool!)
  • Vomiting and sometimes diarrhea that can be bloody
  • Unsteady, staggering gait
  • Nose and ears dry and hot to the touch
  • Body (rectal) temperature is 104 degrees or higher

What to do:

  • Move your dog to the shade
  • Drinking cool water alone will not fix the problem! Do not let your dog guzzle large amounts of water at a time.
  • Immerse your dog in cool NOT icy cold water. Use a garden hose or bucket to cool the undersides including the groin and arm pits. Use a wet towel or bandana to cool underside if a hose is unavailable
  • Pack ice in wet towels and use on underside and head to help cool dog
  • Get the dog to a vet! Even after he seems to be cooled down!

Some signs to recognize as your dog is starting to become overheated include, whining, fidgeting, and as they pant the tongue extends much further than normal and may be scooped at the end like a big spoon with slimy drool at the tip. If you can cool them off at this point, you can avoid the harsher condition of heat stroke which is very serious and can be fatal.

We recommend having your vet’s contact information in your phone just in case you need it in a hurry when you are out and about and you may even want to make a list of the animal emergency clinics that are close to your home as well. Prevention, knowledge of your dog’s normal behavior and being prepared will help you to enjoy the outdoors with your dog safely in all types of weather.

Please contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com