Summer heat can be dangerous for your pets

The summer months can be uncomfortable and downright dangerous for your pets.

The Humane Society of Montgomery County has some tips for keeping your furry friends healthy and comfortable when the heat is on.

Nanook



Never leave your pets in a parked car. You know you shouldn't leave them, even for a few minutes. Here's why: On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or death.

Watch the humidity. "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."

Dogs' temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.

Limit exercise on hot days

Don't rely on a fan. Dogs sweat primarily through their feet and fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

Provide ample shade and water. Be sure that the shade allows for proper air flow. An enclosed space like a doghouse will not help.

Cool your pet inside and out. Try giving your dog a frozen peanut butter treat and a soak in cooling water.

Check out my recipes for cool & tasty homemade doggie pup-sicles.

Watch for signs of heatstroke:
Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs with short muzzles will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke:
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.
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