WASHINGTON, DC — As dangerously high temperatures are plaguing the globe, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, is issuing key tips to help keep your pets safe in the summer heat. Many parts of the United States are facing triple digit temperatures with no let up in sight, while Europe’s heat wave is shattering records, causing roads to buckle and train tracks to catch on fire. During these uncertain times, people must not forget about their pets.
“Severe heat is dangerous not just for humans, but for animals as well,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Dogs and other pets can quickly become dehydrated and overheated in just a matter of minutes while taking a walk or by simply playing outside. During this heat wave, it’s imperative that you plan accordingly to protect your entire family – pets included. We hope the public will follow these tips from the American Humane Rescue team and keep all their loved ones safe.”
To help keep your pets safe in the summer heat, refer to these critical tips from the American Humane Rescue team:
• Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. Leaving a pet in a car for even a short period of time can have a deadly outcome. If you see a distressed dog inside a parked car on a warm day, immediately call your local animal control or law enforcement for help and stay with the animal until help arrives.
• Adjust exercise and walking schedules to cooler parts of the day. During hot summer months, even regular exercise can be dangerous for pets, and you may have to switch up your routine for walks to take place in the morning or the evening.
• If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Before taking your dog out on a walk, touch the surface of the sidewalk or street with the back of your hand. If the ground is too hot to touch for more than five seconds, this will also be the case for your pet. Have booties on hand for your pet to wear to protect their paws or carry them to a patch of grass to relieve themselves.
• Ensure that your pets always have access to shade and fresh water while outdoors. Temperatures in your yard can increase to dangerous levels in just a few hours, and heat stroke can become a serious issue.
• Familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke. This can include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and/or bleeding of the gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomit and even coma. If you think your pet might have heatstroke, take them to your veterinarian immediately.
• Learn to check your dog for possible dehydration. Gently pinch the skin over your dog’s shoulder, pull the skin away from its body, and then release it. The skin will slide right back into place if your dog is properly hydrated, but it will remain “tented” or return very slowly if your dog is dehydrated. If you think your dog is dehydrated, take them to your veterinarian immediately.
• Offer your dog a bowl of cool water to drink in small servings. If your dog swallows a significant amount of water in a short period of time, it could get sick and end up vomiting.
• Provide temporary relief to an overheated animal by applying cool (not icy) water on your pet’s skin with either a bath, hose or sponge until medical assistance can be reached.
• If your pet showed signs of heat stroke but has been cooled and now appears fine, do not assume that all is well. Internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys and the brain, are all affected by extreme body temperature elevation, so seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.
Amidst the extreme temperatures, countries are also struggling to control devastating wildfires that have displaced thousands of people. Meanwhile, hurricane season is in full swing as well.
“It is our duty to protect not only ourselves, but also those who rely on us most – including our pets,” said Dr. Ganzert. “In an emergency, every second counts and it’s critical that you are prepared to protect your entire family.”
For more pet safety tips and advice on how to prepare for a disaster, visit www.AmericanHumane.org/Prepare.