Augusta, GA -
For many people their pets are like family. They are babied and spoiled and sometimes even dressed up. Sometimes we forget, though, that our dogs and cats aren't like us. They don't have the ability to sweat and cool themselves off like we do. Instead they have on fur coats year-round. It's something you'll want to keep in mind as we hit the dog days of summer. Chrissey Miller is the Development Director at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in Aiken, and she has some reminders for all pet owners.
If your pet is exposed to high temperatures:
• Look for signs of heat stress—heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
• If your pet is overheated, move him to a cooler area and take these emergency steps:
1. Gradually lower his body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water all over his body or soaking him in a cool bath.
2. Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin area. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct a fan on the wet areas to speed evaporative cooling.
3. You may offer fresh, cool water if your dog is alert and wants to drink. Do not force your pet to drink.
• Take your pet immediately to a veterinarian—it could save his life. Call ahead, if possible, to be sure your veterinarian is available.
• If you see an animal in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, call your local animal care and control agency or police department immediately and take the following steps:
1. Get the vehicle’s tag number and enter the nearest store or business to request an emergency announcement be made about a pet left in a hot car.
2. Go back and wait for police at the vehicle. Heat stress Is not the only danger your pet faces
when left alone in a car. Many pets are stolen each year from unattended cars.
Many pets prefer to stay home, but if you must take your pet with you in your car, do so safely: Cats should ride in pet carriers, and dogs should ride in travel crates or wear a safety harness. When a pet travels, he should wear two ID tags—one with a home address and one with a destination address.