The weather is so unpredictable these days that both humans and pets are getting sick with the abrupt changes in temperature.
As furparents, let us try our best to prevent illnesses among our pets due to extreme heat. Allow me to share some of the things the vets advised us to do to keep our pets safe and well. Your dog can die of heat stroke or heart attack due to extreme heat, thus, I hope these tips will help you, furparents.
1. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG INSIDE YOUR VEHICLE. No matter what your reason is, please do not leave your dog inside your car on a hot day. Temperature rises fast inside a car. Your dog will die of heat stroke.
2. Give cooling food as treats, such as Mexican turnips or singkamas, watermelon WITHOUT THE SEEDS, and carrots.
3. Give your dog a bath at least once a week. If your dog is a big dog or an asong Pinoy (aspin), wet them if they stay outdoor. This helps cool them down, too.
During summer, we bathe the dogs twice a week.
4. Do not walk them too far or too long.
“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 pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and 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,” the Humane Society of the United States says.
5. If they stay in cages outside the house (but give roaming and walking time please), wet the floor under the cage, and around it. Do this every hour if you have to. It depends on how hot it is on a given day. If the water dries up easily, then you have to wet the floor every 30 minutes to keep the surroundings of the dog cool.
6. Make sure you have a bowl of water accessible to your pet. CHANGE THE WATER EVERY HOUR AS THE WATER GETS WARM. This is not good for your dog. His body temperature will rise.
If there is a heat wave or it is too hot, you can put a cube of ice in the dog’s bowl.
7. Plants cool the place.
As Ruby Bautista, admin of animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL) said, “A tree’s cooling effect is equivalent to that of a one-horse power aircon unit.” If you do not have a place to plant trees, you can put potted plants on cemented areas instead.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reminds pet owners: “Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun, and [has] plenty of fresh, cold water.”
It adds: “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.”
8. For those who can afford it, you can buy a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat which you soak in cool water. These will remain cool (but dry) for three days. This is useful for dogs who do not like to take baths.
9. Take the dog’s temperature.
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
“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,” he adds.
Touch your dog. If he or she is hot in some parts of the body, check the temperature. “Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees,” he says.
Here are some signs of heat stroke:
-difficulty in breathing
-lack of coordination
-a deep red or purple tongue
The animals who are at risk for heat stroke are those who are:
-not conditioned to prolonged exercise
-diagnosed with a heart or respiratory disease
Breeds prone to this are boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles.
If you see these signs, do the following:
-Move your pet to a shaded or an air-conditioned area.
-Put ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over your pet.
-Give small amounts of cool water or let her lick ice cubes.
-Bring to a veterinarian ASAP.
A word of caution from the HSUS: An electric fan will not be enough to cool down your pet. Please follow the tips above.
May your dogs be safe and well always. Namaste!