Keep your pets safe and happy with these heat related tips
Help keep your pets safe during hot summer months. METROGRAPHICS
With summer in full swing, pet owners can forget that Fido and Fluffy need special care too so that they are safe as temperatures heat up.
We already had one heat wave in the region, but it’s only the end of July, which means summer is sticking around for a while yet.
Follow these tips from Donna Crum, Carbon County’s animal cruelty officer, and the American Red Cross to ensure your pets enjoy the summer as much as your family.
1. Provide plenty of water.
Crum says that make sure you are keeping your animals hydrated and make sure you are changing out water that has been sitting around for a while with fresh water since the sun can heat the water to scalding temperatures.
“When you are thirsty, (pets) may be too,” she said.
To help them stay hydrated, you can also make icy treats for them by freezing chicken broth, water, yogurt or peanut butter in ice cube trays and for some animals such as chickens, freeze creamed corn.
2. Shade, shade, shade.
Keep your pets happy by making sure they have cool, shady areas to lay in if they are outdoors. If you are swimming, take them for a dip in the pool or lake as well.
Crum even recommends checking with your vet about applying sunscreen to your animals if they have short fur. But remember, never shave your pet to try to help them cool down.
Use cardboard boxes to help create shady spots for outdoor animals if you do not have any other options.
For indoor animals, keep them in an air-conditioned room, but make sure animals with short coats or no fur have someplace to snuggle into since they can get cold.
3. Be careful on paved surfaces.
Asphalt and concrete can get super heated when the hot summer sun is beating down on it. Add puppy paws and you have a recipe for burned foot pads that will require treatment.
“Stay away from hot sidewalks and roads,” Crum said. “If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.”
Limit midday walks to grassy areas and walk pets on roads later in the day or even early mornings.
4. Keep the bugs at bay.
“Ticks are bad this year,” Crum said. “Don’t compromise their health.”
Use pet flea and tick collars and medications recommended by veterinarians to help animals stay healthy during the summer months.
5. Never leave your pet in a vehicle.
Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly reach 120 degrees, the American Red Cross says, which can lead to dehydration, serious complications and even death quickly in hot summer months.
Crum said it is now legal for police and first responders to break car windows if an animal is found inside a hot vehicle, so just don’t do it.
6. Check on your pets frequently.
Just like people, animals can get overheated and suffer heat stroke.
The American Red Cross says heat stroke is a common problem for pets and recommends watching for these signs: Heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down; brick red gum color; fast pulse rate; and unable to get up.
If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally.
“If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down,” The Red Cross says. “The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.
Once their temperature is under control, bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible since heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.
The Red Cross has a Pet First Aid app to help people to learn how to help pets beat the summer heat.
For more information on keeping your pets and other animals safe, contact your local veterinarian.
If you see a pet in distress, Crum recommends reporting it.
“Call local or state police,” she said. “Don’t remain silent. Speak for them who have no voice.”