How can I keep my pets healthy during the hot summer months?
Don, Freehold Township
With the dog days of summer approaching, pet parents should be aware of the dangers of heatstroke in our pets. Animal Health Care of Marlboro offers a few tips to protect our furry friends during the summer swelter.
- NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked car
Parked cars are potential death traps for pets even on a mild day because the temperature inside a care can quickly climb to over 120º F. Don't leave your pet in the car even for a short “it will only take a minute to run into the store” time.
- Keep your pets out of the strong sun and heat
If your pet spends time outdoors, make sure there is adequate shade and shelter for protection from the heat and sun. Outdoor kennels should be well ventilated and hutches for rabbits should be moved into the shade. Another important provision is plenty of fresh drinking water available (remember pets may be thirstier and evaporation in the sun may deplete the water more quickly than expected). For our bunnies, “in-hutch air-conditioning” can be accomplished by placing a plastic soda bottle filled with frozen water in the cage in a shaded spot for cooling.
- Avoid excessive exercise
Refrain from overexertion at exercise times, planning for the cooler parts of the day. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate intervention. Cooling is important but don’t use ice and avoid overcooling too quickly.Call your veterinarian immediately.
Some pets are more at risk for heatstroke
- Dogs with those cute little pushed-in faces like our pugs are more likely to be affected by heat and humidity because of their small nasal passages that make it difficult for cooling sufficient air.
- The very young and also the elderly seniors are more likely to develop heatstroke based in age alone.
- Those that are carrying a few or more extra pounds of padding (our weight challenged group) can overeat because of the extra layers of fat acting as insulation.
- Cats are better at regulating their temperatures but they too can overheat if appropriate shelter and water are not available.
Drs. Breitstein and Tepper and Animal Heath Care of Marlboro are members of the American Animal Hospital Association who has graciously provided some of the information in this heat advisory. For more information pet parents can visit healthypet.com