2018-06-06 / Front Page

Summer pet care

Even when parked in the shade on a warm day, animals (or kids or the elderly) can succumb to heatstroke or death if left in the car unattended. Sadly, it happens every year.

On a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees and hit a scorching 160 degrees, if parked in the sun.

Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the dog can escape. Plus, if a passerby claims he or she was bitten through the car window, the pet owner will be liable.

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal’s body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 degrees to deadly levels that will damage the nervous system and the heart, often leaving the animal in a coma, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

• Leave your dog at home on warm days.

• On trips with your dog, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and a bowl.

• Don’t let dogs ride loose in pickup truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog’s paws. The sun and flying debris can hurt the dog’s eyes. The dog can accidentally be thrown out of the truck if the brakes are suddenly applied, and the dog can jump out if scared or upon seeing something interesting to chase. Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog, if you can’t fit the dog inside the cab.

• Take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area, or the vet, if you see signs of heat stroke, which include restlessness, thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness or lack of coordination.

• To lower body temperature, gradually give the animal water to drink. Place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool, not cold, water. Call your veterinarian.

• If you see a dog in a car, on a hot day, take immediate action. Note the car make, model, color and tag number. Then go to the nearest stores and ask the managers to page the person that owns the car.

For more information, visit pawsrescuepets.org.

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