Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Keep Your Pets Safe from the Heat This Summer

If you think it’s been hot in Richmond this summer, chances are, your pet is even hotter. Even if your cat or dog is in top health, the high temperatures can be extremely hazardous. Since our companion animals don’t have the same freedom that we do when it comes to choosing to change clothes, go into the air conditioning, or jump in a pool to cool off, it’s important for us to remember to make sure our animals have options to be in cooler environments during the summer.

Here are a few tips to keep your pet cool:
  • Leave the air conditioning on whenever your pet is inside, even if you aren’t home
  • Always carry water for your pet when you go out for a walk, to the park, or for a ride in your car
  • Many dogs enjoy playing in sprinklers or hopping in small pools to cool off. Make watering your plants part of your play time with your pet, and cool them down with the hose while you’re at it
  • While your dog or cat may like to rest in the sun, keeping your blinds and curtains closed can help keep out unwanted heat from bothering indoor pets
  • Take walks in the morning or evening instead of the heat of the day
  • Make sure when your pet is outside, they have adequate shade
Even when you take all precautions, hot weather may still bother your cat or dog, so it’s also important to know the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and what to do when you see them in your pet. Signs can include the following:
  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Dark or bright red tongue or gums
  • Confusion and staggering
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Seizure
If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, immediately move your pet away from the sun and into a cooler environment. Put cool washcloths on your dog or cat’s feet and head, and offer them cool water. Even if your dog appears to feel better after these actions, you should still call your vet right away. VRCC offers vet emergency hospital services 24/7, so if you see these symptoms in your pet, know that we are standing by to help.
Stay safe and enjoy the sun and summer!

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