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Protecting Your Pets from the Heat

by recycler on September 8, 2011

Pets need some help beating the heat.

This summer has been one of the hottest ever. There has been a heat wave that has criss-crossed the United States affecting every state from New York to California, Minnesota to Texas.

In Los Angeles, where the recycler.com main office is located, it reached 107 degrees yesterday. Thousands of people are affected by the heat every year. Children and senior citizens are most susceptible to heat-related illness.

But even more susceptible are pets, in particular dogs. Dogs have body temperatures between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees and can suffer from heatstroke if their body temperature increases to 106 degrees.

Human body temperature can increase 3.5 to 5.5 degrees during illness. However, when we are sick with the flu, our doctor doesn’t worry about us getting heatstroke while we rest. That’s because our bodies continually fight against heatstroke in the form of beads of sweat.

Dogs, on the other hand, only have sweat glands in their paws, so it takes them longer to cool down than humans. Dogs release heat through their paws and by panting, which brings cooler air into the lungs and distributes it while releasing heat upon exhale.

So to make sure you protect your pets from heatstroke and potentially worse, here are some preventative tips:

Don’t play in the middle of the day. Animals need exercise, but not at the risk of heatstroke. Avoid going for a jog, bike ride or playing in the park with your dog during the hot parts of the day. Take your fur buddy out to play early in the morning or late in the evening.

Walks can be dangerous. If it’s over 100 degrees, just how hot do you think the steaming asphalt is? The pads on dogs’ paws are sensitive areas. They will blister when in contact with very hot surfaces for long times. If you wouldn’t want to walk barefoot on the pavement or asphalt, then your pet doesn’t either.

Doghouses can help.

Stay inside. If possible, your pet should stay inside where it will be cooler during the day. When you depart for work, leave a fan running and make sure your pet has plenty of cool water.
Doghouses can help.

If stuck outside, keep ‘em cool. If it’s not possible to keep your pets inside during the day, make sure they are able to stay as cool as possible. Do not chain or pen them up in direct sunlight. Make sure they have ample shade (possibly a doghouse) and a large bowl full of clean, cool water. With larger dogs, a great idea to help them stay cool is a small children’s wading pool kept in the shade. Dogs can cool their stomachs where their vital internal organs are.

Medicate. Make sure your pets are medicated to fend off fleas, ticks and heartworms. Your animals need their bodies fending off the heat not parasites and diseases caused by parasites. Fleas and ticks can drain your pets, so fight them off beforehand with medication.

Avoid having your dog in the car.

Avoid cars. This is probably the simplest, but most abused rule of helping out your pet. Unless you are simply going through a drive-thru, don’t take your pet in the car with you. Your dog should never be left in the car unattended, even if it’s “only for a few minutes.” The temperature inside a car rises at ridiculous rates, even with the windows cracked or down. And if you have a truck and think leaving them in the truck bed is acceptable, think again. Remember what we said about the sensitivity of dogs’ paws? Alright you go lay down naked in the back of a metal pickup on a hot day and tell us how it feels when your skin is being singed off.

Cold water. As stated several times already in this article, your pets need water. It is the element of life, so give it freely. If your dog has to be outside, when you go out to change its water and feed it, take some ice to throw in their bowl. They’ll love crunching on the nice cold ice and will enjoy the chilled water.

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