The dog days of summer are no joke. The deadly heat wave currently hitting the South and Midwest has already resulted in heat warnings or advisories in many states—and taken the lives of more than a dozen people. The record high temperatures are now spreading to the East Coast.
Pet parents, it’s vital to remember that our companions, like people, can suffer from heat stroke. Please take these simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating.
- Avoid dehydration by always having fresh, clean water available and lots of shady places where pets can cool off. When the weather’s extremely hot, keep your pets indoors.
- Limit exercise to either early in the morning or late in the evening. Before starting your walk, give the sidewalk a test with the palm of your hand. If it’s too hot to touch, it can burn your pet’s footpads and should be avoided.
- Bring outdoor pets inside, and give them access to air-conditioned areas of your home. For animals who must remain outside, provide a shady, sheltered place to rest and lots of fresh water in stable containers.
- Never leave an animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—leading to fatal heat stroke within minutes.
- Watch out for the following symptoms of overheating: excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Contact a veterinarian right away if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke.