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Steps to Keep Your Pets Safe in Hot Summer Months

Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department wants to remind pet owners to be extra careful with pets during hot temperature months. With unseasonably high temperatures hitting or topping 100 degrees through August, the extreme heat can pose a danger to pets. Below are reminders from the Humane Society of the United States on ways to protect your pet:

  •  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 ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.
  • Shade and water are must. Anytime your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun (a doghouse alone does not provide relief from heat) and plenty of fresh, cool water. Heat stroke can be fatal for pets.
  • Avoid walking on asphalt. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.
  • Limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust the intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears that are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets.
  • Recognize the signs of heatstroke. 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 your pet shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps immediately to gradually lower his or her body temperature and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. 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. Follow these tips, and it could save your pet’s life:

  •  Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to your pet’s head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over your pet.
  • Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Take your pet directly to a veterinarian.