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SJ News Online - St. John, KS
  • Triple digit temps hard on pets too

  • We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, warn ASPCA experts.


    "Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat," says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, "and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly."


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  • We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, warn ASPCA experts.
    "Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat," says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, "and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly."
    Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.
    Common sense tells most people that leaving their pet inside a parked vehicle on a hot, summer day could be dangerous after an extended period of time. But most people don't realize that the temperature can skyrocket after just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does little to alleviate this pressure cooker.
    On a warm, sunny day windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle, and pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.
    Leaving dogs in kennels with concrete floors or on chains with no available shade and adequate water is also a recipe for disaster.
    City ordinances in St. John do not allow for dogs to be kept on chains for extended periods of time. Ordinance # 2-112 stats it is unlawful to “Picket” – chain up – a dog for  more than one continuous hour without a three-hour break, and then for a maximum of only three hours per day.
    Pets, more so than humans, are susceptible to overheating. While people can roll down windows, turn on the air conditioner or exit the vehicle when they become too hot, pets cannot. And pets are much less efficient at cooling themselves than people are.
    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 helps cool them, but if they only have overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.
    Made in the Shade
    Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.
    Page 2 of 3 - Know the Warning Signs
    According to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, "symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They 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 overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
    No Parking!
    Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke," says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
    Make a Safe Splash
    Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
    Summer Style
    Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. As far as skin care, be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
    Street Smarts
    When the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
    In case of an emergency, it's important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. Check the animal for signs of heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.
    If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps to gradually lower her body temperature immediately. Follow these tips, and it could save their life:
        * Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
        * Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or immerse them in cool (not cold) water.
    Page 3 of 3 -     * Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
        * Take them directly to a veterinarian.
    In many states, it's against the law to leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle in a manner than endangers the health or safety of the animal. Despite these laws, not to mention a basic common sense that should guide most pet owners during the summer, companion animals die every year from heatstroke.
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