Tips for keeping pets safe in extreme heat
by Rachel Davis
Jun 30, 2013 | 1670 views | 0 0 comments | 89 89 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Even with windows left down, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to highs that are extremely dangerous to pets. DME - Rachel Davis
Even with windows left down, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to highs that are extremely dangerous to pets. DME - Rachel Davis
slideshow
Many pet owners enjoy traveling with their pets, but local vets are warning that leaving your pets in the car, even for a short amount of time can be dangerous.

“It just slips peoples’ minds,” veterinarian Robin Roberts of Animal General said. “They think they are just running in for a minute, but with no air movement and no way to cool themselves, it only takes a short amount of time for the animal to become distressed. Even in the shade, those cars become extremely hot in a very short time.”

Roberts said that the effects of the extreme heat aren’t always obvious immediately and can sometime show up as late as two or three weeks later. “Pets just shouldn’t be left in the car, even if you think you are just going to be inside for a minute, time passes much faster than you think,” Robert said.

He also recommends that outside dogs have shade and cool drinking water so they can stay cool during the extremely hot summer days.

Roberts said that he usually sees five or six cases of heat-related illness in dogs each summer, but stresses that there is no way to really know how many animals are impacted locally each year.

“There are five vets around here, so if we each see five or six a year, and we already know that approximately 20 percent of animals in need of vet care actually get it, we are looking at a pretty large number,” Roberts said. “And, of course, we don’t see the ones who are already deceased.”

Signs of heat-related issues in dogs are much the same as in people:

•Unusual breathing - rapid and loud

•High rectal temperature

•Extreme thirst

•Weakness and/or fatigue

•Frequent vomiting

•Disorientation

•A bright red tongue and pale gums

•Skin around muzzle or neck doesn’t snap back when pinched

•Difficulty breathing

•Collapse or coma

•Thick saliva

•Increased heart rate.

Roberts said anyone with an animal showing these signs should cool the animal off and seek veterinary treatment immediately.