Ask a Vet: Summer Safety With Your Pets
1. Never leaver your pets in a parked car. It is very dangerous to leave pets in the car. When the outside temperature is only 85 degrees, the inside of the car can get to 120 degrees within 10 minutes. This is warm enough to bake cookies. Pets and people can suffer irreversible organ damage and possibly death. Pets and people can suffer harder for the body to cool down. Remember that not only is it inhumane to do this, it is also unlawful and will get you a fine and possible jail time.
2. Limit exercise on hot and humid days. Remember that pets are wearing the equivalent of a human sweater or coat. Only go out in the early moring and late evening when the sun isn't up. Short-nosed pets such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, etc. are especially at risk of getting overheated because they can't breathe as well. Also, very young and older pets have a hard time regulating their temperature.
3. Provide ample shade and water. Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has plenty of fresh, cold water and protection from heat and sun. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct airflow. A doghouse can be stifling if not well ventilated.
4. Watch for signs of heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke can range anywhere from heavy panting, drooling, refusal to walk, temperatures over 103, vomiting, seizures and eventually death.
How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area and cool them down with cool water from a hose or in the tub. Offer small amounts of cool water. If they drink too much, they may start vomiting. Call your veterinarian immediately.
Bottom line: Definitely don't leave your pets in the car.
If you see a pet or child left in an unattended car, please call Alachua County Animal Services (352-264-6870) (or the sheriff department) immediately.
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