The sizzling summer months are upon us in Central North Carolina. It is time for picnics, swimming pools, outdoor activities, and fun in the sun. The days are getting hotter and hotter. During this time, it is important to remember to keep our four-legged friends safe, especially when traveling with them in the car or taking them on walks and hikes. Within five to ten minutes in a hot car with the windows up, a dog’s temperature can climb to lethal levels. Temperatures inside an enclosed car can exceed 120 degrees F in less than 20 minutes, with an outside environmental temperature of 75 degrees! So with the temperature in the high 80’s and 90’s recently, it is even more important to leave our furry friends at home.
The types of pets that are at highest risk for heat stroke include pediatric or geriatric animals, overweight animals, dark-colored animals, and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds (i.e. Pugs, Bulldogs). However, any animal can suffer from heat stoke if left in extreme temperatures. There are many signs of hyperthermia including excessive panting, collapse, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures or tremors. If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, it is important that you contact a veterinarian right away and bring your pet in for an examination and treatment. It is not recommended that cooling measures be started at home. If an animal is cooled too fast, more complications can result, such as a higher incidence of DIC, which is a lethal condition.
So what can you do to prevent heat stroke from happening?
- Avoid leaving animals inside a hot vehicle for ANY period of time. Just leave them at home!
- Avoid extreme exercise during hot days. This includes leaving pets outside for extended periods. It is not recommended to leave any brachycephalic breeds outdoors for any length of time.
- If you are taking your dog on a walk or hike, make sure to bring water along. Also, be aware of any hot surfaces that your dogs feet are coming in contact with because they can potentially cause burns.
- If you are planning on taking your dog for a walk, early in the morning or late at night is a good time.
If you see a pet left in a car alone on a hot day, call 911! It could make the difference between life and death!!