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Cities across Pakistan have hit record high temperatures this summer and there are very legitimate worries that next year will be even hotter. We need to start protecting ourselves as well as our furry friends who have a tougher time dealing with the heat than we do. Our skins are designed to cool our bodies down through sweat glands but dogs and cats do not have this advantage. They only sweat through their paws and from their tongues and rely very heavily on water and shade and a little extra care from us to keep cool in the summer heat.
The normal body temperature for dogs is between 101 and 102.5 F, compared to 97.6 to 99.6 F for humans. When dogs have high temperatures that are the result of hot external temperatures or excessive exercise in humid conditions, the condition is referred to as hyperthermia or heat stroke. When temperatures reach 106 F, serious and fatal complications can occur.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your pets cool during the heat wave:
Always allow your pets access to plenty of clean drinking water indoors and outdoors! If you want to cool your pet down fast splash water on its belly. Make sure the water is neither too hot nor too cold to avoid extreme fluctuations in their body temperature. You may also use cold, wet wipes on their paws and ears to cool them down.
Limit their exercise and time spent on hot surfaces!
When temperatures are soaring high, don’t let your dog linger on hot surfaces like asphalt or cement. Being so close to the ground can heat their bodies very quickly and is also an invitation to burns on sensitive paw pads. Keep walks to a minimum and do not over-exercise your pets especially during the daytime.
Let them dig in the garden!
Be sure to allow outdoor pets a cool, shady spot to sit in. Many dogs and even cats start digging in parts of the garden to expose the cooler soil underneath. This is a great source for natural cooling so allow your pets a designated zone in your garden where they can happily dig away without the fear of being punished.
Plant trees and shrubberies in your garden that provide ample shade. If we want to avoid an even hotter summer next year we all have to start planting more trees!
Do not cut your pets hair too short!
Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut can help prevent overheating, but never shave to the skin, the dog needs one-inch of protection to avoid getting sunburned. Remember that their hair acts as insulation that works to naturally dispel heat from their bodies so do not cut their hair too short. Dogs and cats have extremely sensitive skin that should NEVER be exposed to direct sunlight.
Protect your pets from hotspots!
Anything that irritates the skin and causes a dog to scratch or lick himself can start a hot spot. Hot spots can be caused by allergic reactions, insect, mite or flea bites, poor grooming, underlying ear or skin infections and constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom and they tend to occur even more during the summer months.
Make sure your pets are properly brushed and groomed. Use Petkiss’ Dander Free Spray to prevent hotspots by killing dust mites and other parasites that cause skin allergies.
If a hotspot develops keep it clean, show it to a vet and ask for his recommendations. Use Petkiss’s Hotspot Spray to keep the infected areas clean and to encourage healing. Use an Elizabethan Collar on your pet to prevent it from licking and further irritating the infected area.
Never muzzle your pet when it is very hot!
Muzzling your pets inhibits their ability to pant. Panting is a natural reaction to heat and is crucial for its survival.
Never leave your pet in a parked car!
Leaving your dog in the car during the summer (even when it doesn’t seem all that hot to you) is similar to putting your dog inside of an oven! Dogs feel heat differently than humans do since they sweat differently than we do. Dogs sweat by panting and by sweating from their paws. However, a dog trapped in a hot car cannot effectively rid its body of enough of the heat by panting and sweating — simply because there’s not enough cool, fresh air to replace the heated, stale air. Therefore, a dog breathing in warm/hot air for too long will suffer heatstroke and could die. Believe it or not, leaving the windows partially open is NOT enough either. Parking in the shade WON’T keep the car cool enough!
Humidity is the key factor!
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will sky-rocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
If you thing your pet is suffering from any of the following symptoms take it to a vet immediately!
Give your pets cooling foods!
Certain foods can keep your pets temperatures controlled from the inside. Please always consult your vet to find out what would suit your pet best. Duck, Turkey, Fish, Egg Whites, Rabbit, Spinach, Broccoli, Clams, Tofu, Barley, Wheat, Whole Wheat Bread, Lettuce, and Celery fall under the cooling foods category according to Dr. Tracy Lord D.V.M. Yoghurt is another very good ingredient to mix in with your pets food to keep them cool during the summer but be sure to check with your vet to see if your pet has any specific allergies to diary products.
Reduce your pets’ intake of beef and other ingredients that are high in saline. Salt is very bad for your pets and will cause their hair to fall in patches. Be careful to reduce ingredients in their meals that might be naturally high in salt content to avoid these problems and mix Petkiss’ 100% Natural ShedLess Spray in their meals to reduce excessive shedding in the summer months.
Signs of Heatstroke
- Excessive Panting
- High Fever
- Staring/Anxious Expression
- Warm/Dry Skin
- Unresponsive to surrounding and command
- Dark Red Gums
- Rapid Heartbeat
How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area immediately. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian.
We hope this information has been helpful to you. Please be sure to leave your comments if you have any suggestions or tips on what you do to keep your pets cool in the summer.