In ten minutes you can run into the grocery store, grab your milk and eggs, get in line and check out. In ten minutes the temperature in your car on a warm day can increase dramatically. In ten minutes your pet can become overheated and begin to feel the effects of heat exhaustion.
This week I reported on safety tips for animals during heatwaves like the one we experienced last week. On a 95 degree day, the temperature in your car with all four windows cracked can be 113 degrees. If you take your pet with you to run errands and you leave them in the car, you need to remember that animals can’t sweat like we do to cool down. They pant and find cold surfaces to lay on. Stuck in a baking hot car doesn’t allow them any opportunity to cool their body temperature and can lead to heat exhaustion. This can be a serious and deadly problem. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion can include heavy panting, decreased responsiveness, drooling, vomiting, gums turning blue, and shaking.
Julia Palmer, CEO of Capital Area Humane Society encourages people to never leave their dogs in cars, to offer lots of fresh, cool water and if your pet doesn’t improve quickly, to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
One lesson I learned this week that surprised me was about dog’s paws. I knew that hot pavement is a no-no but what I didn’t consider was this. Say it’s a really hot day, so you let your dog cool off by playing in the pool all afternoon. So far, so good. The dog lowers his body temperature and is a happy puppy. When it’s time to go home, you and your pooch walk to the car, this is where the lesson is. After soaking in the water all day, their sensitive paws become even more vulnerable, making the already hot pavement even worse.
Vibram makes a pair (is it a pair if there are four?) of doggy shoes to protect their paws from tough ground. At $70 a pop they are quite the investment. A cheaper solution would be to stick to walking on grass or carry your dog across paved surfaces.
If you are at home and need a cheap and easy way to cool your dog down, you can make a puppy popsicle. Freeze water, dog treats, green beans and a squeaky toy in a large bowl. When it’s all one giant piece, flip it out and let your dog enjoy his new treat.
Summer tragedies can easily be prevented if you keep a close eye on your furry friends, keep extra water available and if your pet acts unusual, don’t hesitate to call the vet.