During warm weather everyone likes spending time outdoors with their furry friends. However, if you are not cautious heat related injuries can happen to your four legged friend very easily. Some tips to keep your pet safe during the heat are:
- Visit the vet often. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
- Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the over/under weight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept in the air-conditioning as much as possible.
- Never leave your animals inside a vehicle. In extreme heat the temperature can get as hot as 140 degrees inside a vehicle when there is no air-conditioning. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in North Carolina!
- Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
- When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt or concrete. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Please call Animal Services at (919) 542-7203 if you ever witness an animal in distress or if you have a question about heat injuries.