When the weather heats up and the temperature becomes too hot for you, it’s even hotter for your four-legged friends. As Southern California starts to see warmer weather, LA Animal Services would like to remind you that too much heat can be extremely dangerous or even fatal for companion animals.
Keep in mind that dogs and cats try to cool themselves by panting or rapid breathing and do not sweat through their skin. So, in addition to keeping a close eye on your pet, here are some additional safety tips to keep your pets safe and cool when the weather gets hot:
1. Never leave your pet alone inside a vehicle
If your pet cannot go inside at every stop with you, they are safer at home on hot days. A car can overheat even when the window has been opened slightly. Even if the temperature isn’t too hot outside, your car can get up to 20 degrees warmer. Always check to make sure that dogs are welcome where you are going, otherwise leave them at home.
2. Give your pet extra water
Always make sure that your dog or cat has plenty of fresh water to drink. A bucket that holds a gallon or more of water will stay cooler much longer than water in shallow pan. If your dog enjoys ice cubes as a treat, add them to the bowl!
3. Avoid hot ground surfaces
While walking your dog outdoors, pay particular attention to the pavement, sidewalks, or sand. Check the temperature with your hand. If it’s too hot to touch, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If it’s 92 degrees outside, concrete or asphalt can reach up to 130 degrees.
4. Don’t leave your pet outdoors for a long time
If your dog has to be left outdoors for a while, make sure they have plenty of access to shade such as trees, a covered patio, or cool spot under the porch. Apply a pet specific or hypoallergenic sunscreen on sensitive areas like the nose, tips of ears and belly especially if they have light or thin fur.
5. Know the signs of overheating
If your dog or cat begins very rapid, noisy breathing, has trouble swallowing, and starts to look very distressed, they could be having a heatstroke. Get the animal out of the heat. Apply cold, wet towels to the back of the head. Place cold packs wrapped in towels or plain wet towels between the back legs and on the belly. Cool off your pet and take them to the veterinarian immediately.
Remember, companion animals want to be with you. They will be safer and cooler inside with you, where they can spend their time doing what they do best – being your best friend.