By Gretchen Pahia / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Pinal County, AZ) It may be only April, but temperatures are heating up around the Valley, and pet owners are preparing to keep their four-legged friends happy and safe.
Heat exhaustion in our pets can present itself in many forms. Symptoms that an animal may be experiencing adverse effects of the heat include rapid breathing, glazed-over eyes, excessive salivating, increased body temperature, and vomiting.
These can be the start of something much more dangerous, heatstroke, which can lead to organ failure, coma, or even death.
However, there are plenty of ways to protect your pet this summer. The Arizona Humane Society is an excellent resource for pet owners and their furry family members. They offer the following tips and suggestions for protecting your pets as the temperatures rise.
Keep pets indoors
Never leave your pets outside for more than a few minutes, especially at the hottest parts of the day. Heat exhaustion issues can come on suddenly.
Avoid exercise and outdoor activities
Keep fido and other four-legged friends at home if you plan to hike or do different outdoor activities. Do not exercise your pet during the hottest part of the day, the afternoon hours. If you need to take your pet outside, be sure to carry them or put on pet shoes, which most pet stores carry. If you are going for a walk, do it in the very early morning hours or very late in the evening, once the ground has had a chance to cool down a little.
Humans hydrate, and so do our pets
Humans are reminded to drink their water daily and increase the amount they drink during the summertime. The same should be true for our pets. They need to improve their hydration during the hotter months of the year, so be sure they have access to clean water.
Short rides in a cool car shouldn’t pose any problems, but never leave your pet inside a parked hot vehicle if the air conditioning is not running. On an average hot day in the Valley, the inside of a car can reach 200 degrees within minutes, leaving your pet with no way to cool off.
If you must leave your pet outside for an extended time, the Arizona Humane Society suggests the following be done to keep them safe and healthy:
If you must leave your pet outside for more than a few minutes, be sure to provide a ventilated shelter with good air circulation in a heavily shaded area. This will help minimize possible heat exhaustion issues.
A great way to help a pet cool off is to provide a baby pool filled with water in a shaded area. The water will keep cool during the summer season and offer a comfortable place to cool off. However, this pool water is not a good source of drinking water, so leave out a non-metal bowl filled with water for drinking.
The Arizona Humane Society responds to hundreds of pet distress calls for pets suffering from heat-related illnesses every year. If you see a pet in trouble or left in a hot car, call the police or the Arizona Humane Society Emergency Animal Medical Team at 602-997-7585.