Late Summer Heat Wave and Pet Safety

With forecasters predicting record-high temperatures over the next three days, the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (SPCA) is issuing a friendly reminder about the dangers of pets and heat. While most people know that leaving a pet in a parked car on a hot day can mean disaster, pets, more so than humans, are susceptible to overheating.

Dogs, for example, are designed to conserve heat. Their sweat glands, which exist on their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling during hot days. Panting and drinking water will help, but if they only have overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage in just 15 minutes.

Below are some signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke in pets:

  • Body temperature 104-110F degrees
  • Excessive panting/profuse salivation
  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • Staggering/lack of coordination
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

In the event a pet exhibits these symptoms, take steps to gradually lower the animal’s body temperature:

  • Move the animal into shaded or air conditioned area
  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to the animal’s head, neck and chest or immerse in cool (not cold) water
  • Offer animal small amounts of cool water or ice cubes to lick
  • Take directly to veterinarian

To prevent heat stroke in pets, make sure to limit exercise to early morning and evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn you pet’s paws. Also consider your pet’s housing. If they are kept outdoors, make sure they have shade and fresh water at all times.

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