Keep Your Dog Cool
By: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Volunteer
Temperatures have skyrocketed several days in a row, and we all are looking for ways to cool down. Remember our dogs are less tolerant of heat than we humans.
Unlike people, dogs do not sweat out excess body heat. They pant which sometimes is not enough to keep them from overheating.
Heat exhaustion in dogs can cause potentially fatal conditions such as heat stroke and cardiac arrest.
Signs of heat stroke are: excessive heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse drooling, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue, seizures and unconsciousness.
If your dog displays any of these symptoms, take action to cool him down. Move him into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to his head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over him. Let him drink small amounts of cool water.
Take your dog to the veterinarian, calling ahead so the medical staff can be ready to take immediate action.
The best cure for overheating in dogs is prevention.
Limit and modify exercise on hot days. Adjust intensity and duration in accordance with the temperatures. Go outdoors in the cooler morning or evening hours. Remember that sidewalks and pavements heat up quickly and can burn your pup’s paw pads. Take frequent breaks in shady areas providing ample water. Let your dog swim or run and play in a sprinkler.
Never leave your dog in a parked car, even if in the shade with the windows cracked open.
Temperatures inside a car quickly soar to 20 degrees higher than what they are outside. On an 85 degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees. A quick trip into a store could easily last 10 minutes or more, time for your loyal companion to develop irreparable organ damage or die.
If you find an animal locked in a hot car and clearly beginning to suffer heat’s devastating effects, you can take action.
In 2017 Colorado passed a bill giving you immunity if you break into a car to help a dog, cat or at risk person as long as you meet the following conditions.
1. You have reasonable belief that the animal or person is in imminent danger of death or serious injury.
2. You determine that the vehicle is locked, and forcible entry is necessary.
3. You make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or operator of the vehicle.
4. You document the color, make, model, license plate number and location of the vehicle.
5. You contact a local law enforcement agency, fire department or animal control agency and obey lawful orders given to you during this contact.
6. You use no more force than is necessary to enter the vehicle.
7. You remain with the vehicle until the first responders arrive.
Hopefully, you will never have to make a rescue from a hot car but know you are protected if you do.
You and your dog have fun this summer, and stay cool. Remember if you are hot, your furry friend is hotter.
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