FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2011
With temperatures expected to soar into the 90's this weekend, the Seattle Humane Society reminds pet owners to keep their furry friends safe during the heat wave.
Your pet’s foot pads contain sweat glands that help keep him cool, and the feet are particulalry vulnerable to hot surfaces. Sidewalks, pavements, sand, and especially black asphalt can reach blistering temperatures in direct sunlight and cause nasty burns on your pet’s feet.
Signs of burned foot pads include:
• Limping or refusing to walk
• Foot pads appearing darker in color than usual
• Raw, red or blistered foot pads
• Licking or chewing on the feet
Take preventative measures and protect your pet’s feet by walking your pet earlier in the day before the sun heats things up. You can also walk on grassy paths or shady areas. Water play is refreshing in the summer but tender foot pads softened from prolonged water exposure can burn more easily. Dog owners should take extra care to protect dogs’ feet from hot surfaces after water play.
Also, never leave your pet in the car unattended in warm weather. The interior of a car can hit 160 degrees in less than five minutes—parking in the shade with the windows cracked can still be dangerous. A dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees. Dogs can withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees for only a very short period of time before suffering brain damage — or even death.
Remember that if your buddy has a shorter nose, like a Persian cat, a Pug or a Bulldog, he or she is more susceptible to heatstroke than breeds with longer noses. If you suspect you pet has become over heated, seek veterinary care immediately.
Signs of heat stroke include:
• Body temperatures of 104-110F degrees
• Excessive panting
• Dark or bright red tongue and gums
• Staggering or stupor
• Bloody diarrhea
At home consider your pet's housing. If they are kept outdoors, make sure they have shade and fresh water access at all times. If you live in a warm climate, it is a good idea to hose down the dog before work, at lunch or whenever you can to provide extra cooling.
If you suspect that your pet has suffered from a heat stroke, seek veterinary attention immediately. Use cool water, not ice water, to cool your pet (very cold water will cause constriction of the blood vessels and impede cooling). If your animal “appears” cooled, do not assume everything is fine. Internal organs such as liver, kidneys, brain, etc., are definitely affected by the body temperature elevation, and blood tests and veterinary examination are needed to assess this.
Enjoy the hot weather this weekend, but leave your best friend at home if you can’t take him in with you at every stop!