We had a nice break from the hot weather for a long time — but then boom, in came the heat wave. And with the 90- and 100-degree weather that's with us for a couple weeks, you'll want to prevent heatstroke in your pet — and know what to do if it happens.
For advice, I went to the Pasadena Humane Society to get tips from Laurel Birmingham, the shelter's health care manager.
Wanna know how hot it is for your pet? "Put on a fur coat," Birmingham says. That's what it's like for dogs and cats, except they can't perspire like you and me. And if you can't take the heat on the sidewalk on your bare feet, it's certainly too hot for your dog.
A tip from Laurel: buy an electronic rectal thermometer now and keep it on hand — properly labeled. "The dog's core temp is between 100-102," she says. "If it's over 103, they're in the danger zone."
Listen to my interview with Laurel above, and check out these tips from the Pasadena Humane Society website:
- Keep your pets hydrated with plenty of cool water.
- Provide shade and water, if your pet is outside.
- Avoid exercising pets during peak hours. Exercise them early morning or later in the evening.
- A dog’s paw pads can burn easily when walking on asphalt, artificial grass, cement or other similar surfaces. Walk them later in the evening or early in the morning when it’s cool.
- Apply sunscreen on your dog’s nose, ears and belly to prevent sunburn. Ask your veterinarian what brand you should use.
- For rabbit owners: Place a two-liter frozen bottle of water in your rabbit’s hutch. This acts as a natural air-conditioner.
- For cat owners: Place your cat in a sink or bathtub with a few ice cubes to play with. This way your cat can have fun and stay cool at the same time.
- For dog owners: Fill a wading pool with shallow water and let your dogs play around in it. Make sure to supervise your dogs while they play.
- Do not leave your pet in the car.
- Pets exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (e.g., excessive panting, heavily salivating, and/or immobile) should be taken immediately to a veterinarian for assessment.