Summer's hot and humid weather can pose a serious danger to pets.
The American Red Cross has helpful steps to keep the family pets safe and healthy during the sweltering heat.
Pet owners should not leave their animal in the car, even for a few minutes, when the hot weather arrives. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Pet owners are urged to refrain from leaving animals in the car, even with the windows cracked open.
Heat stroke is a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are prone to heat stroke. This is also true for any obese pet, a pet with an extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea.
Some signs a pet may be developing heat stroke include heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down. Their gum color may be brick red, their pulse rate may be fast, or they may not be able to get up. Anyone who thinks their pet has heat stroke should take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring the pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.
Pet owners also need to be aware that animals may try to get out a window or door, which are more likely to be open as the weather warms. And some plants in the garden can be hazardous to animals. For instance, many lilies are very poisonous to cats. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control website to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals. Other tips include:
Give pets plenty of exercise. Regular exercise will help pets feel better and live longer;
Make sure pets have plenty of fresh, cool water;
Get to know a veterinarian and make sure the pet has yearly checkups;
Make sure pets are up to date on vaccines, especially rabies;
Get pets spayed or neutered;
Keep dogs on leashes outside - another animal may be too much temptation; and
Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid until veterinary care is available.