June 30, 2012 You know it's hot when even states like Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota are posting temperatures in the mid-to-upper nineties and even higher. And the southern two thirds of the country is really sweltering in the heat.
Such high temperatures can pose health risks to both people and animals.
You can help your pet stay safe in the excessive heat by giving it protection from the sun and access to fresh water whenever it is outside.
If your pet stays outside, give it a place that offers shade throughout the day. One way to help it stay cool is to fill a small children's pool with water so it can jump in and cool down.
Limit activity during the heat of the day even if your pet wants to run or play.
When walking your pet, remember that hard surfaces, like streets, sidewalks, even sand, heat up quickly and could burn the pads on the animal's feet. Plan to walk in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are not so high, and try to stick to the grassy areas as much as possible.
Some pets, such as elderly animals, or those that are sick or overweight, should not be left outside in extreme temperatures.
And remember that any animal, even young healthy ones, can quickly show signs of heat stress – those signs include glazed eyes, dizziness, stumbling, drooling.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, cool it down as much as possible and immediately take it to a veterinarian. Prompt action could save your pet's life.
No list of hot weather pet safety tips would be complete without a reminder never to leave your pet in a parked car for any reason, not for the shortest period of time, even with the engine running and the air conditioner blowing. You wouldn't put your pet in an oven, so don't leave it in a parked car.
One fun idea to help keep your dog not only cool but also entertained is to make dog popsicles. You can find a recipe on the Humane Society of the United States website at HSUS.org. Just type "dog popsicles" in the search window.
As we try to endure the summer heat, let's make sure our best friends stay safe and healthy, when we're speaking of pets.