Tips to keep pets safe in high temperatures

Even on mild days, a car can get too hot for pets

Justine Hicks floats with her dog, Kiana, on the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Summer weather is finally on its way to the Portland area and animal experts are warning pet owners to be extra aware of their furry friends in the heat.

“It’s important to realize how higher temperatures may affect pets,” Dr. Jessica Casey with DoveLewis Animal Hospital said in a press release. “Keeping pets cool is crucial to preventing heat stroke and exhaustion.” 

Temperatures are expected to reach the 90s this week. Even mild temperatures can pose dangers to animals, especially if they are left inside a car. When it’s 75 degrees outside, it can heat up to 100 degrees or more in a car.

Hot cement can also hurt a dog’s paws. A good way to test if the ground is too hot is to place your own bare foot or hand on the ground — if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.

Signs of heatstroke are panting, vomiting, warm and dry skin, rapid heartbeat, staring or anxious expressions, collapsing and refusal to obey commands. To help lower the body temperature, put towels soaked in cool water on the hairless parts of your pet and use a fan to cool them off. If your pet has heatstroke, call DoveLewis at 503.228.7281.

DoveLewis provided these tips for keeping animals safe in extreme temperatures:

One of the dozens of dogs rescued from a South Korea dog meat operation now at the Humane Society in Vancouver, Sept. 30, 2015 (KOIN)
One of the dozens of dogs rescued from a South Korea dog meat operation now at the Humane Society in Vancouver, Sept. 30, 2015 (KOIN)

• Never leave your pet in a car. On a mild to hot day, temperatures in a closed car (even with the windows cracked) can exceed 120 degrees in minutes, creating a dangerous condition for any animal.
• Give your pet extra water. Staying hydrated is crucial on hot days to avoid illness. Whether your pet is indoors or outdoors, be sure to fill their water bowls several times a day.
• Don’t overdo outdoor exercise. Often times, dogs don’t know when they need a break, so it’s important to stop frequently for shaded breaks and offer plenty of water.
• Take extra precaution with older dogs and dogs with shorter noses. Just like older humans, older dogs can be especially susceptible to higher temperatures. And certain breeds with shorter noses (like pugs and bulldogs) are at a greater risk of heatstroke.
• Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your dog. Sunburn can affect pets the same way it affects humans – pain, peeling and skin cancer. Use a pet-safe sunscreen on unprotected areas, like the tips of the ears, the skin around the lips, and the tip of the nose. A good rule of thumb for sunscreen: If it’s safe for babies, it’s safe for your pets.
• When in doubt, stay indoors. Avoid staying outside for long periods of time during the hottest time of the day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Animals can get sick quickly on hot days, even if they are in the shade.

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