Handling Pets in the Heat

Heat can be just as dangerous for animals as it can be for people.  Prevention is the key to combat heat stress in pets.

Keep your animals cool during the warmer months.

Make sure outdoor pets and animals have access to shade and a continuous supply of cool water in containers that cannot be tipped over.

If your animals are kept indoors in an un-airconditioned place such as a barn, make sure there is air movement through the barn using fans and leaving windows and doors open.

Never leave an animal in a parked car.

When the outside temperature is 85°F, the inside of a vehicle can quickly reach 120°F even in the shade with the windows cracked open.

If you travel with your pet, make sure the animal is properly restrained while the vehicle is moving.

Pets need to keep their heads inside the vehicle and should never ride in the bed of a truck.

Jogging with your pet is a great way for both of you to stay in shape.

Even if a dog is in excellent shape and jogs with you in cooler weather, overexertion in hot weather can easily cause overheating, especially in humid weather.  Jog or walk early in the morning or late evening. And shorten the distance you go when the temperature is high.

Remember that a dog pants to cool off.

Do not place walking leads around the dog’s muzzle while walking or jogging. Also, their footpads can get sore and irritated just like our feet can so avoid hot surfaces.

Signs of overheating or heat stress may include elevated body temperature and heart rate, rapid breathing, nostril flaring, staring and unresponsive, staggering, seizures, diarrhea or vomiting.

If your pet overheats, move it to a cooler area or in the shade.

Begin to sponge the animal down and call your veterinarian immediately. Be careful to run hoses before aiming the hose on your pet, as water in a hose will heat up. Enjoy the summer weather and take precautions to keep you and your pet cool!

The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is the only veterinary college in Oklahoma and one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  The center’s Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is open to the public and provides routine and specialized care for small and large animals.  It also offers 24-hour emergency care and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association.  For more information, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.

Categories: Health