The best way to protect your pet in hot weather is to keep him indoors, in a cool room and out of the sun. Make sure he has plenty of water available and limit activity levels during peak hours of sunshine.
It’s especially important to resist the urge to take Fido or Fluffy along for a car ride. On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to dangerous levels quite quickly. Even parking in the shade or lowering windows does little to reduce the air inside a car, which can easily surpass 40°C in mere minutes. With only hot air to breathe, a dog’s normal cooling process of panting doesn’t work, and his internal temperature can rise, leading to severe heat exhaustion, brain damage or even death.
Signs of canine heatstroke include rapid heartbeat, lack of coordination, weakness or muscle tremors, unconsciousness, glazed eyes or convulsions.
If you see an animal that may be suffering from heat exhaustion, and the owner can’t be quickly located, call the Ottawa Humane Society at 613-725-1532.
The OHS recommends these tips to keep pets safe during hot spells:
- Monitor the activity of your animals and be careful they don’t over exert themselves.
- If you suspect heat stress, bring your pet to a cool area, gradually lower your pet’s temperature by sponging cool water onto him/her and call your veterinarian immediately.
- When you take your dog out for exercise, make sure to bring enough water for the both of you. Exercise your pets — more slowly and for shorter periods of time — in the early morning and/or evening to avoid the midday heat.
- If your pet spends lots of time outdoors, make sure there is adequate shelter for protection from the sun and heat. Outside kennels need to be well ventilated and situated in shaded areas. Clean, fresh water must be accessible at all times.
- Sun-baked asphalt can burn paws — keep to the grass, but make sure to watch out for pesticide warnings!
- Ask your veterinarian about sunscreen for your pets — certain parts of your dog (for example, nose and ears) can get sunburned!