It’s all sun and games until someone gets heat stroke!
May 9th, 2018
With this crazy heatwave we’re having we thought this would be a good time to remind everyone of the dangers that can be associated with our pets in the summer. Perhaps the biggest danger to our pets in the summer is heat stroke. One of the easiest and unfortunately most common ways for our pets to get heat stroke is by being left in parked cars. The problem with cars in the summer is the internal temperature of the car can reach deadly temperatures in a very short amount of time so even if you are just running into a store quickly the risk of heat stroke is still quite great. Pets are unable to sweat like humans can which means they overheat very quickly and easily. People often claim that they roll the windows down which gives enough of a breeze but putting the windows down has been shown in various studies to not make a significant difference in the internal temperature of a car. Below are some simple tips in regards to pets in hot cars:
*The easiest and best thing to do in hot weather is just leave your animal at home where it is cool and protected from the sun.
*If you do have to travel with your pet for some reason bring plenty of fresh, cool water and a water bowl. Offer your pet some water every 30 minutes.
*Bring your pet inside with you and do not leave them in the car. A lot of businesses are now changing their policies to allow animals inside because animals being left in parked cars has become such a big problem.
*Do not let your pet ride in the bed of a pick-up truck as the sun beaming down on the metal will become very hot and burn your pet’s paws.
The bottom line is leaving your pet in the car can be deadly and is simply not worth risking. If you see an animal in a parked car that is clearly showing signs of distress start with calling 911 – the police will get there the fastest and have the authority to break into the car and free the animal to safety. Sometimes people’s immediate reaction is to break into the car themselves to help the animal. Doing this is not recommended as there can be legal repercussions. If the animal looks stable and immediate intervention does not seem necessary the best thing to do is to try and find out information regarding the situation, such as how long the animal has been in the car for, who the owner is, etc. Writing down the make, model and license plate of the car is beneficial as you can then go into various businesses near the parked car and ask whose car it is and let the owner know that it is too hot to leave an animal in a car unattended.
In regards to heat stroke the best thing you can do is be aware and cautious of the signs of heat stroke so that you would be able to spot it in your own pet. The signs to watch for are restlessness, showing signs of extreme thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, vomiting, glazed eyes, fever, rapid heart rate, dizziness, trouble walking and their tongue may appear a darker colour than normal (purple or dark red). If any of these signs are observed please get your pet to a shaded or air conditioned area and seek veterinary care immediately. If you are a far distance from a veterinarian place some cool, wet towels under the animals armpits, the groin area and the back of the neck until you are able to get to a veterinarian. Animals don’t just get heat stroke from being left in the car, heat stroke can also happen if an animal is over exerting itself on a hot day. Typically, old, young, brachiacephalic (animals with smushed faces), long-haired, obese and darker coloured dogs are most at risk for heat stroke. Take extra precautions with these pets to make sure they rest in hot weather.
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