Leaving a dog in a car on a hot day can be fatal. If it’s 85 degrees outside, temperatures on the dashboard of a car can soar north of 170 degrees in as little as please remember that your four-legged friends are just as susceptible to heat stroke.For many of us, summer means one thing, and that’s fun in the sun! But that lovely summer sun often accompanies unbearable heat, and our grandchildren (and we) suffer the consequences. You likely know about the need to apply and reapply sunscreen, to keep them (and you) hydrated, and more—but were you aware that your pet needs similar protections?
What would you do if you saw a dog left in a parked car on a hot day?
In many places, it’s illegal to leave a pet in a parked car on a hot day. Calling the police would not only save the pet, but let the owner know that this will not be tolerated.
Many dogs love playing outside, but they need to be supervised. On a hot day it’s ill-advised to leave them out for extended periods of time. Be sure they have plenty of water before, during, and after playing or exercising. Remember that dogs with darker coats can overheat more quickly. If you have a black lab, for instance, he or she is likely more sensitive to the heat.
A dog’s snout is one of its defining characteristics. Many breeds, such as English and French bulldogs, boxers, and pugs, are adored for their “pushed-in” snouts. But warmer days can make breathing more dif- ficult for them. When it’s above 90 degrees outside, it’s best to leave those little guys inside, except, of course, for brief trips outside for you know what.
Another danger is hot asphalt. If you’ve ever touched it on a hot day, you’ve felt scorching pain. Because dogs have soft pads on the bottom of their feet, walking on the street can cause them discomfort, or maybe even burns. It’s best to stick to grassy areas if at all possible.
Even in a cool, air-conditioned house, we need to monitor our pets for overheating. Be sure their water bowls are frequently full and that they are drinking out of them. Cats can be particularly vulnerable to dehydration. If they aren’t drinking enough, try adding a little bit of water mixed in with their moist food. And of course, pets love cold treats! It’s okay to offer them occasionally, just don’t overdo it. When a treat looks small to you or me, for the pet, it can be equivalent to eating a greasy cheeseburger. Or two! Ice cubes are always a good idea. Pets love chewing and licking them, and adding a few to their water dish is a great way to help them cool off.
I hope you have a fun summer with your grandkids and pets – just remember to keep everyone cool!
Robin Ganzert, PhD, is the president of American Humane Association, the country’s first humanitarian organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals.