With summer coming into full swing, pet owners and transporters can take a handful of precautions to ensure their furry friends stay cool and comfortable.Because of high body temperatures and coats that can make it difficult to cool down, dogs and cats are greatly affected by heat and humidity and should be closely monitored this time of year.
Topping the list: never, ever, leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. Even if you expect a quick trip inside a convenience store, leaving a pet inside a car or truck can be disastrous. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle with cracked windows reaches 102 degrees in 10 minutes. The heat can rise to 120 degrees in only 30 minutes, according to Dr. Louise Murray, of the ASPCA Animal Hospital.
“On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time, even with the windows open,” said Dr. Murray. “This could lead to a fatal heat stroke and is even illegal in several states.”
Keeping pets company in a vehicle is something that should be considered ahead of time, especially those drivers transporting animals long distances in the summer months.
It’s also critical to recognize the signs of pets suffering from excessive heat. The first symptoms include sustained panting, difficulty breathing, increased respiratory and heart rates, weakness, and lethargy. Severe symptoms include seizures, vomiting and a body temperature greater than 104 degrees. If these signs become apparent, the pet should be wrapped in a cool, damp blanket and rushed to a veterinarian.
Humidity can harm pets just as much as heat. Dogs and cats pant to evaporate the moisture in their lungs, which takes heat away from their bodies. When humidity reaches high levels, animals are unable to cool themselves, so be mindful of humidity levels, especially in coastal areas and locales near large lakes or rivers. Pets with short snouts, like Pug dogs or Persian cats, have a harder time dealing with humidity as do very young or mature pets, as well as those with respiratory issues.
When traveling, try to exercise dogs and cats in early morning or late afternoon hours, when the sun is not directly overhead. When making pit stops during the day, be sure to walk them in shade. Also, pets sweat through their paws, so be sure to keep them off of hot asphalt, which can easily burn their sensitive pads.
Finally, it may seem like common sense, but it is crucial dogs and cats have a constant supply of fresh water particularly when traveling. Some owners and transporters have found ice works well because it cools off animals quickly and stays chilly once it becomes water.
Following these tips can help keep your animal cool at home or on the road. If your pet needs to be transported across the state or across the country, CitizenShipper’s community of caring, professional animal transporters can get the job done.