Entering the dog days of summer, pets need a little extra care in order to prevent dehydration and heat stroke during extreme weather. Here are some tips to keep your furry friends safe and what to look out for in dangerously hot conditions.
"The risk is very similar to that in people where you can have extremely high body temperatures leading to severe dehydration and, in some cases, multi-organ failure and death in dogs," said New York City Bond Vet veterinarian Dr. Gabrielle Fadl in a recent interview with NBC New York.
These are the top three precautionary steps Dr. Fadl shared in order to avoid any potential threat to your dog.
- Avoid long walks during the mid-day sun. Instead, take Fido out during either the early morning or dusk hours. If you must take the dog out, limit the timing to five to ten minutes max outside.
- Pavement can become extremely hot - sometimes upwards of a 150 degrees. Keep to the shaded side of the street or grass, if possible.
- Even if you blast the air conditioner, don't leave your pets inside the car. This may just bring more anxiety to your pet during an already stressful circumstance.
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To Dr. Fadl, dogs most at-risk are brachiocephalic breeds, such as French and English Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Signs of a dehydrated pet are panting, noisy breathing, excessive drooling, foaming at nose or mouth and blue or purple tongue color.
In the event your pet does experience heat stroke, the first-and-foremost action is to rush to the animal hospital or veterinarian. However, during the in-between time, there are ways to help the situation.
First, bring the pet inside to air conditioning or in front of a fan if no A.C. is available. Next, wet the pet's feet in room temperature water.
"Avoid ice and cold water because it can cause vasoconstriction, which constricts those vessels on those extremities that can prevent cooling," warned Fadl.
Once the sick pet arrives at the vet, the animal will most likely be hooked to an I.V. providing fluids intravenously. In severe cases, animals may even end up on a mechanical ventilator.
On Tuesday, Bond Vet launched a 24/7 urgent care helpline for NYC pets called BondAid, allowing clients to chat with a nurse in real time should you have issues or questions concerning your animal.
According to Dr. Fadl, a good rule of thumb for heat stroke prevention is, "if you start to sweat when you're outside, it's probably too hot for you pet."