“If it feels too hot to you, it’s even worse for your pet,” said Dr. Sarah Hoggan.
For dogs, cats, and other animals, heat stroke can be fatal; but, by taking a few basic precautions, they can survive a heat wave. Unlike humans, pets don't have sweat glands, so they're not able to keep cool in the heat as efficiently. "Most breeds are covered in fur which further worsens their ability to remain cool," says Dr. Shapard. "They're also lower to the ground and more vulnerable to increased temperature." The following information can help you keep your pets safe.
Pets should be kept inside as much as possible
Ideally, spend as much of the day along with your pet in air-conditioned areas as you can. Put your animal companion next to a fan if you don't have air conditioning. Generally, you should maintain pets in a cool environment. If you must leave your pets outside, make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh water. Do not leave them unsupervised for more than a few minutes, and avoid exposing the animals to direct sunlight. .
Plan your Walks
Avoid the peak heat of the day, especially in cities where hot sidewalks and road surfaces can burn and blister paws. You wouldn't walk barefoot on hot concrete or searing pavement, would you? Neither should your pet. When the sun is especially high, take note of the surfaces they're walking on to avoid burning their paw pads. Set an alarm and walk your dog first thing in the morning, taking the shadiest route possible. Save the leisurely walk for after the sun has gone down.
Know the signs of overheating, and act quickly
If your pet is panting excessively, has thick, ropy saliva, is unusually lethargic, vomiting, or has diarrhea, seek immediate medical attention. A deep red tongue and brick red gums are also signs of heat stroke in dogs. Open-mouth breathing in cats can indicate that they are overheating. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Wrap towels around your pet and moisten them with cool water (not ice water, which can cause blood vessels to constrict).
Signs of heatstroke include:
Confusion or loss of coordination
Drooling or foaming at the mouth
Vomiting or diarrhea
Shaking or weakness
Never leave your pets in a parked car
Leaving a dog alone in a hot car can be fatal – even parked in the shade with the windows open, dogs can become distressed and uncomfortable and develop heat stroke very quickly. Make sure you always have a plan, so your dog isn't left alone in the car or any other enclosed spaces. You should avoid travelling in your car with your dog on a hot day. If you do need to travel, make sure that you use shade covers on the windows, so they don’t have direct sun on them whilst you are travelling. If possible cool your car down and have the air conditioning on before putting your dog in. Avoid travelling at hotter times of the day and consider travelling when there is less traffic, so you don’t get stuck for long periods of time.
Keep your Dog Fit and Healthy
It's important to help your dog stay as fit and healthy as possible all year round, whatever that looks like for them. During warmer weather it's especially important to help them maintain a healthy weight. Your dog will likely be less active when it's hot, so it can be a good idea to adjust the amount of food you give them to reflect how much energy they are using up.