Although it’s not the first day of sweltering heat, June 20 is officially the first day of summer. As the temperature climbs, it’s important to take pets’ health into consideration. The Humane Society of Missouri has a few rules for pet owners and animal lovers to ensure pets are happy and healthy, despite the heat.
1. “70° & Over, Don’t Take Rover!” Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car when the temperature is near or above 70 degrees. In a matter of minutes, the temperature inside a car can soar past 100 degrees, regardless of whether a window is cracked or the car is parked in shade. Internal temperatures above 100 can be deadly to your pet.
2. Act immediately if you see a distressed animal in an unattended car. Call the police and the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400 as soon as possible. A pet showing signs of distress, such as heavy panting, unresponsive behavior, seizure or collapse needs immediate attention.
3. Apply cool water to your pet’s extremities if they show signs of heat exhaustion. If your pet is displaying symptoms, place a cool, wet towel around their neck or pour cool water over their body, especially the abdomen and between the hind legs. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice these symptoms.
4. Make sure outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Secure plastic water bowls to the ground so your pet cannot accidentally tip them over. Avoid using bowls made of metal as they will become extremely hot if left out in the sun.
5. Provide your pet with shady spots outdoors. Ensure your pet is protected from the heat and sun at all times during the day. If you leave your pet outdoors for an extended period, check to make sure there are shaded areas beforehand, and keep checking in as the sun changes positions.
6. Take frequent water breaks if walking or jogging with your dog. Asphalt and concrete heat up quickly. If you can’t keep your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds, it is too hot for a dog’s paws. Consider going for a walk in the early morning or after the sun sets when it’s cooler outside.
7. Do not ride a bicycle, e-scooter or rollerblades with a pet. Pets will do everything they can to keep up with you while you’re moving fast. Heat stroke and possible death can occur quickly in these circumstances.
8. Keep pets inside when temperatures exceed 90 degrees. Bring them indoors and keep them in a safe and secure place such as the basement, especially if your home is not air conditioned. Rising temperatures inside the home can be just as deadly as the outdoor heat.
9. Groom your pet regularly. A pet’s coat is designed by nature to keep them cool during the summer.Consider taking your pet to a groomer for a trim, or regularly brush their fur to remove any excess hair. However, do not shave your pet without first consulting a veterinarian, as this may result in overexposure to the sun and cause sunburn or other serious side effects.
10. Prepare for thunderstorm stress. Many pets are terrified of the loud, sudden noise. Try to keep your pet indoors in a cool, dark, quite place. Sometimes playing soothing music can help calm your pet. Pet parents can also go to the veterinarian to see if using ThunderShirts® or nutritional supplements and prescription medications can help alleviate their stress.
For more information on how to care for pets during warm weather months, visit hsmo.org/donttakerover.
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