With scorching heat and humidity predicted at the Jersey Shore, humans aren’t the only ones who need to take care. Pets are highly susceptible to heat and should be given a lot of consideration as temperatures rise.
Whenever temperatures climb, provide extra drinking water. Dogs pant to cool themselves by releasing body heat, but this process also can dehydrate his body.
To encourage a hot dog to drink on hot days, resupply cold water. Some people fill a dog bowl or bucket and freeze it overnight. As it melts during the day, it provides a steady supply of refreshing, cold water (check to make sure it melts quickly enough to provide as much water as he might wish to drink).
Change your dog’s water more often during hot weather and add ice cubes to your dog’s bowl.
Many hot dogs enjoy curling up with a nice cold ice pack. A frozen plastic water bottle stays cool for hours. Dogs who use frozen water bottles as pillows cool down quickly, since blood circulates close to the surface at the neck and throat. (My dog used to like hanging out in a kiddie pool on days like these.)
At home, if your dog doesn’t have a dog door or easy access in and out, be sure he has shade to rest in and ample water supplies. The angle of the sun changes with the seasons, so be aware of shifting shade patterns. Providing shade is essential.
Ventilation and air circulation are crucial when dogs are confined to pens, crates, and kennels. Solid walls interfere with air circulation while chain link fencing, screens, or mesh fabric allow the air to move. Shade covers help reduce heat loads, and fans that circulate air have a cooling effect.
When heat and humidity are high, save outdoor activities for breaks in the weather or early morning or late evening when temperatures and humidity are lower.
Temperatures are expected to rise to 100 degrees today at the Jersey Shore with high humidity, so watch for signs of pet heat exhaustion or distress.
If your pet is panting excessively, having difficulty breathing has an increased heart and respiratory rate, is drooling, has mild weakness, stupor or even collapse, it is in heat distress. Symptoms of heat distress in pets can also include seizures and vomiting along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Pet owners should watch their animals for signs of heat related issues and if you suspect heat exhaustion or distress in your pet, apply cool compresses to the belly and neck and call the vet immediately.