5 ways to keep your pet cool when temperatures rise

5 ways to keep your pet cool when temperatures rise

During the hot months when temperatures are higher than usual, it is important to take extra precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones cool; This includes your furry friends.

“One of the things I always love to talk about with my pet parents is, ‘If it’s too hot for us, it’s definitely too hot for them,'” says Dr. Philip Ann, small animal general practitioner and owner of Sunset Veterinary Center, in Diamond Bar, California. .

He noted that pets, especially cats and dogs, do not have as many sweat glands as humans. Instead, they primarily regulate their temperature through panting, but placing your pet in hot conditions, such as taking them for a long walk on a warm, sunny day, can have life-threatening and sometimes fatal consequences since heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke within moments.

It’s based in Cypress, says Dr. Jennifer Hawkins, a veterinarian who is the executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA).

“So whether you’re throwing a ball in the middle of a hot day and you’re feeling fine, you may have a dog that will keep chasing that ball until it has heatstroke.”

She adds, “This is where I think pet owners may not realize that while we know we’re starting to feel uncomfortable and can go inside and get some water and cool off, our pets may not teach you until they get sick.”

Hawkins notes that temperatures do not have to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 37 degrees Celsius) for your pet to warm up, so pet parents should be more aware of these potential risks when temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 27 degrees Celsius). Celsius). ).

Very small or very large dogs and short-nosed dogs such as pugs and bulldogs are among the pets most likely to suffer from heat-related complications because they cannot breathe as easily as those with longer noses. Pets with medical problems also have a higher risk of heat-related illnesses, along with other small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

“If you have a rabbit, chinchilla or guinea pig…they are very sensitive to heat and can die indoors if the temperature reaches 85°F or 90°F (29°C or 32°C),” says Dr. Clyde Bates, owner of Studio City Animal Hospital: “There is no air movement.”

According to veterinarians, here’s how to keep your animal companions cool in the heat and how to spot the signs of heat stroke.

1. Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle

On hot days, experts advise leaving your dogs (or any pet) at home.

Veterinarians say that if you have to take your pet with you, it should not be left alone in a car under any circumstances. Leaving the air conditioner on, windows cracking, or just walking away for a few minutes are not enough precautions as temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels inside the car.

“It’s not worth the risk to their health and safety,” Hawkins says. “It only takes a few moments with mild weather outside for the car to reach unbearable temperatures.”

2. Limit exercise and outdoor activity

There’s a reason many people choose to exercise in the morning when it’s cold outside or in the evening when the sun goes down. This ideology should be applied to your pets, too.

Experts say you should limit exercise and outdoor activities, such as walking and playing in the dog park, to the coolest times of the day. This is especially important for dog owners because asphalt can heat up quickly. If a dog walks on a hot surface, it can severely burn its paws.

“This can be very painful for them because they are now basically walking around with large blisters on their feet,” said Dr. Julio Lopez, veterinary internal medicine specialist and owner of the Encino Veterinary Center.

“So I think it’s one of those things that we humans don’t really think about because we wear shoes.”

A common tip vets tell parents is to test the ground before taking them outside. You can do this by placing the back of your hand on the floor for about five seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for your pet. If your dog, for example, has a history of burns on the pads of his feet, you may want to buy dog ​​socks to use while walking.

It is also important to adjust the intensity and duration of exercise on hot days. “Pause often to give them a rest because they will try to keep up with what’s happening to you,” Bates says. “They are very loyal and love us despite how hot they are.”

3. Provide enough water for your pet at all times

It is always important to have fresh water readily available for your pet, but it is especially essential on hot days. Experts suggest having multiple spill-proof bowls for your pets and making sure they are placed in shaded areas.

And if you are taking your pet outdoors, it is wise to bring more water than you think they need and make sure they have a drink before heading out the door.

Parents of pets can also consider purchasing collapsible travel bowls, which often have a clip, making them convenient to carry.

4. Keep your dogs in cool, shaded areas indoors or out

Whether your pet is indoors or outside – for a limited time – in your home, many vets say it’s best to keep them in cool, shaded areas.

Owners of rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals normally kept in cages should avoid placing the cages in direct sunlight.

Hot air will also rise so it is best to put cages on a low surface. Placing a cold or frozen water bottle in the cage can help keep pets cool. If you don’t have an air conditioning unit in your home, you can use fans to keep the air flowing.

There are a range of products, such as cooling mats and jackets, that pet owners can purchase to provide comfort for their pets, but many experts say they are not mandatory.

“Keeping your pets cool, regardless of the energy bill, should be relatively inexpensive,” Hawkins says. “There are a lot of great new products like cooling beds, but they are not required. Using a simple fan and using shade are great ways to keep pets comfortable.”

She points out that some pets, such as rabbits, also cannot tolerate rapid changes in temperature.

She adds, “You just want to keep it cold. You don’t have to keep it cold.”

5. Watch for signs of heat stroke

Heat stroke, the most serious heat-related complication, occurs when a pet’s body temperature exceeds 40°C.

Common signs include excessive panting, drooling, gum discoloration (no longer vibrant pink), vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Pets may collapse or have a seizure.

“It just starts with their heart rate increasing and they start panting… very subtle,” says Ann. “But if a pet parent is able to pick it up early and [the pet hasn’t] If you have been in this stressful environment long enough, you may not turn into this horrible chain of events that in some cases can end in death.”

If your pet shows any of these signs, experts recommend contacting your local vet to seek medical advice.

In the meantime, you can apply lukewarm water to the littered areas of their skin (abdomen, groin area, armpits, and paws) and put them in a cool place. — Tribune News Service/Los Angeles Times/Kaylene Brown

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