As summer rolls around the corner, temperatures are rising, breaking heat records from the previous years.

While it may be fun to go out and enjoy the sun at a beach or at a park, it is very important to stay hydrated not only for yourself but your furry companions. While you are out with your pets for walk or play, it is crucial to carry enough water to fight the heat.

It is also a cause of concern if pets are left inside cars while one goes shopping. While it may seem like a short period of time away from the car, a few seconds to a pet in your car can feel like hours especially in the summer heat. As such, it is important to treat your pets like family help them stay out of the heat with these cool tips.

Heat Exhaustion

It is important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and stroke. The first and most simple sign of heat exhaustion is loud and constant panting from the pet, which is a signal for extreme thirst.

This is the first sign of exhaustion as more water is evaporating from the pet’s system than being taken in. If water is not provided immediately, the pet will become lethargic and thick saliva will start to appear in the corner of their mouth. If as time passes and no water is provided, the animal may start vomiting and the colour of their gums begin to turn pale.

Furthermore, when the skin is pulled up in the scruff area and does not refract back into its original position in a prompt manner, that is a sign of severe dehydration.

The term for this slow skin refraction is called “tenting”. All these physical symptoms are easily spotted; but if left untreated, will result in an increase in heart rate and eventually a stroke.

Preventive Measures

Preventing heat strokes for your pets is easy. The most important thing to do is to have a source of water readily available at all times to allow your pets to stay hydrated. Additionally, avoid having your pet stay out for long periods in the sun. By doing these two simple tasks, the chances of your pet getting heat stroke will be greatly minimized. For more advanced measures, one can give the pet a haircut to avoid the retention of heat against the skin.

A simple trim is enough to do the trick; there is no need to entirely shave off the fur as this will do more damage to the pet. Lastly, when travelling with pets in a car, always have the windows down or the air conditioner on to keep a cool environment. When parked, we recommend taking your pets with you and not leaving them in the car as this is very unsafe and dangerous.

The Dangers of Leaving Pets in Cars

Unknown to most people, leaving pets in a car on a hot sunny day is an actual crime that can subject the owner to hefty fines or even a chance of jail time.

On a hot day the temperature may be 20 degrees outdoors, but the inside of a car can reach up to 40 degrees even if the windows are down when parked under the sun. Since dogs have a lot of fur, they have a limited ability to sweat compared to humans; as such, the car can turn into a deadly place for pets in less than 10 minutes.

This may not seem like a long duration, but a few minutes of heat stroke is enough to cause neurological damage that will affect the pet for many years to come. In severe cases, it will cause death.

Acting in Emergency Situations

There are many cases when a civilian is walking by and sees a pet in an enclosed car and wonders what they should do, as it is not their car or pet.

We and the police advise that you do not take action yourself by forcing an opening in the car by breaking the window. Rather, the first thing to do would be to call the police and explain the situation. The dispatcher will most likely instruct you to stay on the scene until an officer arrives. In rare and extreme cases, they may give further instructions so it is important to stay on the line and follow their directions.

If a pet is dealing with heat stroke outside a vehicle, one can call the BCSPCA if the pet is not theirs or bring them to an animal hospital for treatment.

It is important to be aware of the dangers of heat stroke for your pets as they cannot verbally express their needs. As such, it is crucial to bring the necessary items to prevent heat stroke and take action by not leaving pets inside cars.

Lastly, if you happen you be around the Central Park area in Burnaby, please visit us at our clinic with your dog for some treats and a chance to rehydrate for those long hours in the sun.

Beat the heat and stay cool!