Summer is here and every year, dogs suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”—while they run an errand. Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in an hour. According to research on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website (www.avma.org), cracking the windows does little to nothing to keep pets cool. During these warm month, ask yourself,”Does my pet really need to come?” It can be a matter of life and death for your pet.
Something else to consider is what time of day you are interacting with your pet outdoors. Exercising with pets should be done during the cool hours of the day– early morning or later in the evening. They, just like humans, are susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Another thing to consider is how hot the surface is that you are walking on! Dogs have thick and calloused pads on their paws, but these can still easily burn. Sidewalks and asphalted roads can quickly reach extreme temperatures in the morning, and hold onto heat from the day. If you aren’t sure if the pavement is too hot, feel it! If there’s even a doubt in your mind that it’s too warm, don’t subject your pet’s paws to it.
Remember that panting is your dog’s primary method of staying cool. They also dissipate heat through the pads on their paws. Another way they stay cool is by their fur–this may seem counter-intuitive, but fur acts as insulation against the heat as well as the cold. Making sure your pets have access to shade, fans/air flow, and clean water are imperative, especially if they are outside.
When travelling with your pet, have a full water container (bottles, gallon jug, etc.) and dish/bucket for them to drink out of.
Some other things to keep in mind are:
-having unscented baby sunscreen for dogs with pale or pink skin and thin hair around their face
-having a child’s play pool (small plastic shallow type) filled with clean water for dogs to play in while supervised
-having a wet towel or cloth available for the pet to lie on outside
-using a spray bottle to mist water over your pet when out and about on warm days (if they tolerate it)
Written by Callie Rulli- Skylark Animal Bodywork, LLC