The intensely hot summer days are here with no end in sight. When we couple that heat with the monsoon humidity, our animal’s health can be at risk. There are several actions we can take to help insure the heat doesn’t harm our animals. Always have plenty of fresh, clean drinking water available because our dogs and cats can easily dehydrate when it’s hot. If a pet is outside, make sure there is shade available as well as water. A shaded wading pool is very effective for cooling.
Exercise should be kept moderate and take place early in the day. When the peak temperatures exist, not only can an animal get overheated, the sensitive pads on a pet’s paws may burn. Use caution with flat-faced animals, such as Persians and pugs. These breeds can easily develop breathing problems when overheated.
It is really important to know the signs of overexertion and overheating. According to the ASPCA, symptoms of overheating in pets can include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
It’s also illegal to leave an animal unattended in a hot vehicle. Twenty three states have laws to protect animals left in locked cars and Arizona is one of them. If you see a pet left in a vehicle, and it seems to be in distress, call 911 immediately and ask for help. In May of 2017 Arizona enacted HB 2494 which allows a person to use reasonable force to enter a locked vehicle to remove a minor or domesticated animal if they have a good faith belief that the minor or confined animal is in imminent danger. It is important that before entering the motor vehicle you notify a peace officer, emergency medical service or first responder or an animal control enforcement agency and that you stay with the minor or animal until first responders arrive.
Use cool towels to help an overheated pet and get it to a veterinarian immediately. Don’t waste any time; unfortunately, heat exhaustion can be deadly.
The ASPCA does offer some other suggestions. Be cautious about shaving dogs too close when giving a “summer cut”. Per the ASPCA: “The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. Be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.”
The La Paz County/Town or Parker animal shelter is located at 309 7th Street, behind Western Park. Kennel hours Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday 10-12-noon and closed Sunday. Call 669-8774 for details or to find lost pets. View animals on Facebook PAWS of Parker or www.petfinder.com