Summer is here and the outside temperature is climbing. Most of us today have air conditioning in our homes, automobiles and work environments and are very aware of our own temperature and comfort. Unfortunately, we are not as conscience about our pets. Animals have a naturally higher body temperature of 100.0 â€“ 102.5 F and therefore have a higher predisposition to over heating. Hyperthermia, or "Heat Stroke", affects various functions and reactions within the body including inappropriate chemical reactions within the body in the brain, liver, kidney and intestine. It is these chemical reactions which cause the destruction and death of body cells. The higher the temperature and the longer the hyperthermia persists the more damage it causes. The damage caused by heat stroke can vary from slight dehydration to death. Being a good pet owner is more than just feeding, walking and playing with them. Using the information provided below and a little common sense will lead to a longer, higher quality of life for your pet. Your pet's health depends on your care as well as your love.
Things You Will Need
Fresh water, shade
The fist step and one of the most important is NEVER leave a pet in a car. According to the weather channel, a car left in the sun on a 90 degree day can climb to 110 degrees in 10 minutes, 120 degrees in 20 minutes and 133 degrees in 30 minutes. Leaving a window cracked is not enough to cool a car down for a pet to survive.
If your pet spends any time outdoors, make sure that shade is always available. As the sun moves across the sky shade can disappear. Make sure that a fresh clean water supply is always available and monitor drinking levels regularly. Also, remember that it can also get too hot even in the shade. Providing sprinklers, misters, or a shallow pool of water can help with cooling your pet.
Exercise your pet in the early morning or after dusk. Be careful between 10am and 3 pm as this is when the sun and heat tends to be the most intense. Carry water with you when walking your dog and allow them to drink as often as needed. Remember, older pets tend to over heat quickly due to their decreased metabolic rate. Heart disease and obesity may also have an impact on metabolic thermoregulation. An occasional misting with a spray bottle can help them feel cooler.
When traveling with your pet in a car on long trips equip the car with window shades and keep the air conditioning on in warm weather. Bring along water and ice cubes and provide plenty of access to it if needed to keep them from becoming dehydrated.
Learn to recognize the sighs of hyperthermia or heat stroke and be aware of its possibility in your pet. The signs include intense, rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering and weakness. Ignoring the signs can lead to your pet collapsing and becoming unconscious.
Your pet's health depends on your care as well as your love. Using the information provided above and a little common sense will lead to a longer, higher quality of life for your pet.
Tips & Warnings
Be aware of your pet's coat. Keep it appropriate for the time of year.
If your pet displays any of the signs of heat stroke, take steps to cool them down immediately and take them to the vet for treatment.