On a relatively mild 70-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can climb above 100ºF in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. Leaving your dog or cat in the car while you run errands could lead to tragedy in just a short period of time. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads. Heatstroke can come on quickly and result in brain damage or death.
Watch for symptoms such as restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, or lack of coordination. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, get her or him into the shade immediately and call your veterinarian. Lower the animal’s body temperature gradually by providing water to drink, applying a cold towel or ice pack to the head, neck, and chest, or immersing the dog in lukewarm water.
Prevent Heatstroke by Taking These Precautions:
* Never leave a dog or cat in a parked car.
* If you see a dog or cat in a car and in distress, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license-plate number, have the owner paged inside nearby stores, and call local police.
* Don’t carry your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. This is always dangerous, but the heat brings the added danger of burning the dog’s feet on the hot metal.
* Don’t take your dog jogging—except on cool mornings or evenings—and don’t force exercise. On long walks, rest often and take plenty of water. Hot pavement can burn dogs’ paws; choose shady, grassy routes.
* Trim heavy-coated dogs’ fur, but leave an inch for protection against insects and sunburn. Keep an eye on areas where hair is thin, like eyelids, ears, and nose as they can get sunburned.
* Keep your dog indoors. If he or she must stay outside for long, avoid the hottest part of the day. Provide shade, water, and a kiddie pool. Keep drinking water in an anchored bucket or a heavy bowl that won’t tip over.
* Be a watchdog for dogs on chains. Make sure that they have food, water, and shelter. If you see a dog in distress, contact animal control. Give the dog immediate relief by providing water.