Vets' Rx for pets in hot weather: Reduced activity, no parked cars
No matter how eager your dog may be to stay active in hot weather, as Mack seems to be, exercise your higher intellect and make him take it easy. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)
Signs of heat distress in dogsSigns of canine heat stroke
Signs of heat stroke in dogs include severe panting, lethargy, disorientation, increased heart rate, 104-plus temperature, balance problems, inability to cool off, seizures, vomiting and then, finally, collapse.
Is your dog wobbly on his feet, not answering to his name? Is her tongue dry, or larger than normal, or is she hot to the touch?
Has his tongue gone from a “happy pink to brick red,” as veterinarian Kate Roberts describes it?
If you suspect heat stroke, take your pet to a veterinarian right away.
A veterinarian is able to slowly bring the animal's temperature down. Throwing an animal with heat stroke in to a cold bathtub could send them into shock, said veterinarian Lee Pearson.
Dogs are usually the pets of most concern in hot weather. Cats evolved in desert climates and are usually not companions for running errands, but even they can get over heated on a hot day.
Roberts said the best way to avoid problems for your pet on a hot day is to “lay low.”
— Meghan Pierce
"Just as we are trying to stay cool, we should try to keep them cool," said veterinary doctor Kate Roberts at Animal Hospital of Nashua at Amherst.
"You want to keep their core cool," said Stephanie Frommer, director of shelter operations at the Monadnock Humane Society in Swanzey. "But don't dump ice water on them because you don't want to shock them either. You don't want to cause any undue stress on their hearts when their hearts are probably already pumping hard."
"Don't leave your dog in a parked car. Even with the windows down, it can just get stifling in there," veterinarian Lee Pearson of Cheshire Animal Hospital in Keene said. "In 90-plus-degree weather it's just like an oven and the dogs just can't dissipate enough heat through panting."
"Even on a regularly warm day, 75, 80 degrees, with the windows cracked the inside of the car can easily reach 100 to 120 degrees," Roberts said.
It's important to remember dogs don't release heat the way humans do, Frommer said.
"If they are walking on a hot surface they can blister their feet very easily and then they can't release heat through their feet," Frommer said.
These breeds are referred to as brachiocephalic, which means "short face" in Latin. Their squished-in faces mean they have limited airways, which makes cooling off harder.
"Not all dogs can swim," he said.
Using a fan or air conditioner to keep cool? Give pets access to the same cool air, Pearson said.
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