August 18, 2011
The HSUS Advises Texans to Keep their Pets Cool during Record Heat Wave
AUSTIN, Tex. — As the Lone Star state continues to experience abnormally high temperatures, The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, reminds Texas pet owners to protect their animal companions.
After 40 consecutive days of triple-digit heat, the Dallas area’s hot streak came to an end last week, two days short of the all-time record set in 1980.Areas further south and west of the Metroplex haven’t been so lucky as the incredible Texas heat wave continues with no end in sight.
“This extreme heat wave that has blanketed our state has caused health risks for people, but it’s also been a very dangerous time for our pets,” said Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director for The HSUS. “The HSUS reminds Texans that the heat can be fatal for their pets and urges them to take precautions to protect our furry friends during this record-setting hot spell.”
- Never leave your pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police.
- Shade and water are a must. Anytime your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun (a doghouse does not provide relief from heat) and plenty of fresh, cool water. Heat stroke can be fatal for pets as well as people.
- Limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets who, because of their short noses, typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.
- Recognize the signs of heatstroke. In case of an emergency, it's important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some signs of heatstroke are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness. If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps immediately to gradually lower her body temperature and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you fear your pet may be suffering heatstroke, following these tips could save her life:
- Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
- Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her.
- Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
- Take her directly to a veterinarian.
The HSUS also suggests a special pet cooling mat as a good way to help keep your pet cool indoors or outdoors. After soaking the mat in water, it will stay dry but cool for up to three days. The Keep Cool Mat and other products to keep dogs safe and cool can be found at Humane Domain.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty—on the web at humanesociety.org.